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Swiss face tough Euro 2004 challenge

The Euro 2004 final will take place in Benfica's stadium in Lisbon Keystone

Switzerland’s national football team will face defending champions, France, plus England and Croatia in the 2004 European Championships.

This content was published on December 1, 2003 - 09:57

The draw was made on Sunday in Portugal, which will host the prestigious competition.

Michel Pont, deputy coach of the Swiss team, said the players were excited about meeting such good sides in Euro 2004, but realised that it was a tough draw.

“Obviously we’re not the favourites, but that could suit us,” said Pont.

“We’ll start with Croatia and England. This means that we would have to get good results to get into the quarter-finals before meeting France,” he added.

France won the previous competition in 2000 and will start as one of the pre-tournament favourites. The team beat Switzerland 2-0 in a friendly in Geneva in August.

England’s last encounter with Switzerland in Bern ended 1-1 in 1998. But England have been faring well recently.

Under the guidance of coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, England have not lost a qualifying game for either the World or European competitions.

Croatia reached the semi-finals in France in 1998, but have since lost form.

Second time

The Swiss national team qualified for Euro 2004 after beating Ireland 2-0 at home in October.

It is only the second time that the Swiss have made it through to the finals of the prestigious competition. They went to Euro '96 but made a first round exit.

But the Swiss, buoyed by recent success, will certainly be hoping to get further in Portugal.

The tournament kicks off on June 12 when the hosts, Portugal, meet Greece in Porto.

Switzerland’s first match will be against Croatia in Leiria on June 13. The side will meet England four days later, before playing France on June 21.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Euro 2004
Group A: Portugal, Greece, Spain, Russia
Group B: France, England, Switzerland, Croatia
Group C: Sweden, Bulgaria, Denmark, Italy
Group D: Czech Republic, Latvia, Germany, the Netherlands

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