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Swiss handball team to miss world championships

Marc Baumgartner saw Swiss World Championship hopes dashed

(Keystone)

The Swiss handball team has failed to qualify for the 2001 world championships after losing a crucial play-off match against Ukraine.

The Swiss team had high hopes of making it to the world championships in France next year, having defeated Ukraine in their previous clash.

But under pressure against the home side in Saporoshje, they couldn't put away more than 20 goals, which by the closing bell, was nine short of their opponents' score.

The defeat will weigh heavily on the Swiss, who would have qualified if they had just managed to keep within three goals of their opponents' final tally.

The match will also bring back unpleasant memories of last year's defeat against Iceland. The Swiss had accumulated a nine-goal lead before that match, but lost to their hosts by the same margin and failed to make it to the European Championships.

The defeat is particularly bitter for the national coach, Mühlethaler, because it's his last match. Carlos Lima is also retiring.

swissinfo with agencies

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