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Swiss eliminated from football World Cup in South Africa



Barnetta fights for the ball watched by Lichtsteiner

Barnetta fights for the ball watched by Lichtsteiner

(Keystone)

Switzerland have failed to qualify for the last 16 at the football World Cup in South Africa after being held to goalless draw by Honduras.

The Swiss finished their group in third place with only four points after three matches. Spain came top of the group ahead of Chile which lost 2-1 against the European champions on Friday.

It was an all together lackluster performance by the team of coach Ottmar Hitzeld against a rather limited Honduras which are 14 places behind Switzerland in the Fifa rankings.

Alex Frei, Hakan Yakin and youngster Xherdan Shaqiri came on in the second half to make more pressure.

But too many individual mistakes cancelled out the efforts of the willing but unfortunate Swiss side in the match in Bloemfontein.

Honduras almost stole the win in the 71st minute, but Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio denied an unmarked Edgar Alvarez with a brilliant one-handed save.

The Swiss had a slight advantage in the first half, but missed their opportunities.

Disappointment

Coach Hitzfeld acknowledged that his team should have made more of its chances.

“I’m very disappointed. Our performance was below par and we were unable to score a goal,” he said after the match.

Switzerland had to win with two goals to go through to the knock-out round of the tournament.

Spain finished top of Group H and will face Brazil on Monday, while Chile will take on Portugal.

Switzerland came third with four points, including a shock 1-0 victory over the Spaniards in the opening match. But they lost the crucial face-off with Chile 1-0 earlier this week.

Prominent victims

The first phase of the 2010 World Cup also saw defending champions Italy, as well as France being eliminated after the group stage.

Only one African team, Ghana, made it through to the last 16, while the other five squads, including hosts South Africa, bowed out.

Six teams from Europe, including England, Germany and the Netherlands, and six from Latin America, including Argentina and Mexico are still in the competition.

Two teams from Asia (Japan and South Korea) and the United States complete the line-up for a berth in the quarterfinals.

The final is scheduled in Johannesburg for July 11.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch

Teams

Switzerland: Diego Benaglio; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Steven Von Bergen, Stéphane Grichting, Reto Ziegler; Tranquillo Barnetta, Benjamin Huggel (Xherdan Shaqiri, 77. min), Gökhan Inler, Gelson Fernandes (46 min Hakan Yakin); Eren Derdiyok; Blaise Nkufo (Alex Frei, 69. min).

Honduras: Noel Valladares, Osman Chavez, Maynor Figueroa, Victor Bernardez, Hendry Thomas, Ramon Nunez, (Walter Martinez, 67. min), Wilson Palacios (Georgie Welcome 77. min), Jerry Palacios, David Suazo (Danilo Turcios 86. min), Mauricio Sabillon, Edgard Alvarez.

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