Swiss brace for England backlash

Manager Köbi Kuhn (left) believes Switzerland can cause an upset Keystone

Switzerland’s footballers say they are ready to stop a determined England when the two sides meet in Thursday's crunch match at Euro 2004.

This content was published on June 17, 2004 - 13:56

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has vowed to attack from the start as his team hunt for their first points in Portugal.

England are still smarting from their last-minute 2-1 loss against France in their opening match and know that defeat against the Swiss means they are out of the competition.

“We have to attack, to be very aggressive and to win the ball early,” said Eriksson.

“We have to be as motivated and concentrated as we were against France for 93 minutes if we want to beat Switzerland. And it’s not going to be easy. Absolutely not.”

Switzerland, who drew 0-0 with Croatia, say they have nothing to lose against one of the pre-tournament favourites.

But manager Köbi Kuhn agrees with Eriksson that the opening period of the game will be crucial.

“England can exert huge pressure, but if we resist in the first 15 minutes they may start to get anxious,” he said.

Kuhn is expected to make at least one change to the side which salvaged a draw against Croatia, despite being reduced to ten men during most of the second half.

Fabio Celestini is likely to come in for the suspended Johann Vogel as the midfield anchorman.

Respect

England insist they are not underestimating their opponents in Coimbra. Beckham said they would treat the Swiss as if they were European champions.

“We’re not taking lightly any team we come up against. We know every game in our group is a tough one,” he said. “If we don’t perform and don’t get the result we need, we’re out of the competition.”

Chelsea’s John Terry is expected to take his place back in the heart of England’s defence after missing the France game with a hamstring injury.

The pre-match build-up has been given added needle after the tabloid daily “Blick” published a cut-out voodoo doll of an England player. The paper urged Swiss fans to work some black magic and “give the English pains in their legs”.

The paper also revealed Switzerland’s secret weapon in the run-up to the match – special stockings, designed to stimulate circulation in the heat in Portugal.

In Thursday's other Group B match, France take on Croatia in Leiria.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Switzerland drew 0-0 against Croatia in their first match in Group B on Sunday.
England lost 2-1 to titleholders France.
The Swiss team will have to play without midfielder Johann Vogel who is suspended after being sent off in the match against Croatia.

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In brief

Underdogs Switzerland are taking on England in their second match of Group B.

A defeat for either side would virtually dash their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the tournament.

At Euro 96, Switzerland held England to a 1-1 draw.

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