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Swiss crash out of World Cup after penalty woe

Barnetta (left) and Ukraine's Kalinichenko vying for the ball Keystone

Switzerland's World Cup adventure came to a bitter end after losing to Ukraine in a dramatic penalty shoot-out in Cologne on Monday.

This content was published on June 26, 2006 - 23:49

Neither side could break the deadlock in normal playing time or during the extra half an hour and Switzerland were also unable to find the net from the spot, allowing Ukraine to win a dour match.

The penalty lottery came as a huge blow after Swiss expectations had been raised with a series of promising performances that had seen them qualify for the round of 16 top of their group.

Switzerland started the game well, controlling the early passages of play and dominating possession with their trademark pattern of short passes.

Hakan Yakin adjusted his sights with a couple of long-range efforts, but the Ukraine goal was given a more serious test in the 13th minute when Raphael Wicky forced an acrobatic save with a fiercely struck shot.

Neither side was able to carve out a clear-cut chance until midway through the half when both crossbars were rattled in quick succession.

First Andriy Shevchenko ducked in ahead of Djourou to connect with a cross only to see his header bounce off the turf and onto the woodwork. A minute later Alex Frei curled a powerfully struck free-kick against the Ukrainian bar with the goalkeeper helplessly rooted to the spot.

Ukraine appeared to be sparked into life by the two close calls and Oleg Shelayev blasted a shot high after Djourou had blocked his initial effort.

It proved to be Djourou's last action as the defender limped off towards the end of the half to give Stéphane Grichting his first taste of World Cup action.

Game of attrition

The defensive reshuffle caused some jitters within a minute of the restart when Andriy Voronin stole in front of Grichting to steer a header just wide of the Swiss post.

Switzerland brought on striker Marco Streller in place of Yakin in an effort to shake things up. It was Shevchenko, however, who injected some urgency into proceedings with a fine run and rasping left-footed shot that whistled just past the Swiss post.

Ukraine came close again in the 75th minute when Andriy Gusin got his head on the end of a corner only to see it shave the far post.

But a complete lack of adventure from either side, who both appeared too afraid of losing to attempt to force a win, resulted in extra-time amid a chorus of jeers from the fans.

Two half chances soon fell Switzerland's way that they could not capitalise on. A Wicky cross was headed back by Tranquillo Barnetta just out of reach for Ricardo Cabanas and Johann Vogel shot tamely at the goalkeeper from a decent position.

Streller tried to stave off the looming penalty shoot-out by cutting inside the Ukraine penalty area, but it was to no avail as his shot was blocked in the last significant moment of action in open play.

Swiss goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbühler saved Shevchenko's first kick, but Streller suffered the same fate with the next penalty. Barnetta then hit the bar and Cabanas also saw his attempt saved to leave Oleg Gusev to send Switzerland crashing out with a successful strike.

Switzerland made football history by becoming the first team not to score once in a World Cup penalty shootout.

In a first reaction Swiss coach Köbi Kuhn said he was disappointed.

"We came here to win, but we have to accept defeat. They were more lucky this time.

"Nobody scored against us during regular time in the tournament, but that's cold comfort for us right now."

swissinfo, Matthew Allen in Cologne

In brief

It was Switzerland's eighth appearance in the history of the World Cup.

The Swiss reached the quarterfinal stage in 1934, 1938 and 1954 - the year they hosted the tournament.

Their last appearance before this year was in 1994 when they were knocked out in the round of 16 by Spain.

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Key facts

The match in Cologne ended 0-0 after extra time.
Milevski, Rebrov and Gusev scored for Ukraine on penalties.
Switzerland's Streller, Barnetta and Cabanas missed their spotkicks.
Zuberbühler saved Shevchenko's penalty.

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