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Swiss draw in qualifier for football World Cup

Disappointed Swiss keeper Benaglio (centre) after the late Israeli equaliser Keystone

Switzerland have been held to a 2-2 draw away against Israel in their first qualifying match for the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa.

This content was published on September 6, 2008 - 21:58

Yakin and Nkufo put the Swiss 2-0 ahead after 55 minutes of Saturday's match in Tel Aviv, but Benayoun, who plays for Liverpool in Britain, pulled one back for Israel and Sahar levelled in injury time.

Both Swiss goals came after free kicks taken by Yakin - the country's most successful player at the Euro 2008 tourmament in June.

Observers say the Swiss team - with Senderos, Müller and Frei - looked vulnerable and Israel were denied a penalty.

"We failed to take advantage of the space the Israelis left us after we went up 2-0," said Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

"We gave away two points today and will have to learn from our mistakes. But we snatched at least one point from one of our direct rivals."

Rebound

Hitzfeld says he expects his side to bounce back for their second qualifier against minnows Luxembourg at home on Wednesday.

"We are still feeling the disappointment. But the players are determined to do even better in our home game," he said.

The Swiss press unanimously described the 2-2 draw as a "disappointment" and a "missed opportunity for a dream start to the World Cup campaign".

In other matches of qualifying Group Two on Saturday, favourites Greece routed Luxembourg 3-0, while Latvia upset Moldova 2-1.

A total of 32 teams, including 13 from the European groups, as well as the hosts South Africa, go through to the finals in 2010.

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