A football friendly between Switzerland and Australia has ended in a goalless draw in the Swiss town of St Gallen on Friday.
For the Swiss, the match was an important warm up ahead of their first European Championship qualifier against England next Tuesday.
Australia had the better chances in the first half but lacked the finishing touch – which was the case for Switzerland as well on its few attempts near the goal. The Swiss have been criticised under coach Ottmar Hitzfeld for their lack of attacking play at goal.
Striker and captain Alex Frei was given a penalty kick in the 61st minute to put Switzerland in front, but shot over the goal – drawing jeers from the crowd.
Switzerland played without star midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta, who came down with a fever and is also uncertain for the match against England.
Barnetta was replaced by Marco Padalino, who plays for Sampdoria Genoa in the Italian league.
Both Switzerland and Australia exited in the first round of the World Cup in South Africa in June. Although the Swiss beat eventual champion Spain in the first match, they were unable to score a single goal in their other two showdowns – against Chile and Honduras.
Switzerland’s four opponents in the qualifying round of the European Championship were in action against each other on Friday.
England beat Bulgaria 4:0, while Montenegro beat Wales 1:0. Only the winner of the group is assured of going to the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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