Swiss football team wins praise in defeat

A disappointed Trossero leaves the stadium after Saturday's 1-0 defeat Keystone

Switzerland's footballers may have lost their opening world cup qualifier at home to Russia, but their performance has won plenty of positive comment in the national newspapers.

This content was published on September 3, 2000 - 18:58

The French language paper, dimanche.ch, said the team appeared to have been pumped up by new coach Enzo Trossero even if their plans never quite took flight. Noting the absence of injured strikers Chapuisat, Türkyilmaz and Sesa, the paper said that the team had displayed unexpected quality, particularly in the first half.

The newspapers were unanimous in their praise for Badile Lubamba, the Congo-born defender making his international debut. "With 11 Lubambas we wouldn't have lost", read a headline in the SonntagsBlick. The German language tabloid described Lubamba's performance as a joy to watch as he "slogged, stretched, ran and crossed."

As one would expect after a 1-0 defeat there was some criticism too. The SonntagsBlick was not impressed by what it considered an unusually ineffective midfield, with the experienced internationals Johann Vogel and captain Ciriaco Sforza picked out in particular.

But the papers agree that the main cause of Switzerland's downfall was the team's inability to finish. "If Yakin had converted his chance after 12 minutes, if Rey had shot better in the 18th ..." The SonntagsZeitung lists six great opportunities before admitting that none of the 'ifs' will help ease the disappointment.

While all the reviews point out the difficulty of the challenge now facing Trossero, the new coach is not blamed personally for the defeat. But the papers warn that only a convincing win will do against the Faroe Islands next month.

Trossero himself seems to have pre-empted much of the newspapers' comments in his post-match press conference. "I was criticised by several people after the friendly game with Greece," he recalled, "when we didn't play well but managed to get a draw. I think (against Russia) we played very well and ended up losing 1-0."

The Swiss team may have been treated with understanding and patience with regards to the absence of key personnel this time around. But with the game against the Faroe Islands followed just four days later by the away match in Slovenia the pressure in October is bound to be greater and the headline writers are sure to be waiting.

by Mark Ledsom

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