Swiss strikers in short supply for World Cup qualifier
The Swiss football coach, Enzo Trossero, has named his squad for next week's opening World Cup qualifier against Russia. Top strikers Stephane Chapuisat and Kubilay Türkyilmaz are both missing due to injuries.
Türkyilmaz's sore heel and Chapuisat's injured leg have forced Trossero into some difficult decisions. David Sesa, who completed his move from Lecce to Napoli earlier this week, will be expected to carry much of the attack. He will be aided by the Grasshoppers team-mates Ricardo Cabanas and Hakan Yakin, who have just one and five international caps respectively.
Murat Yakin, Hakan's older brother, is a surprise omission from the squad, even allowing for his disappointing performance in last week's friendly match against Greece. Andreas Gerber has also been dropped.
Gerber's and Yakin's loss is Sébastien Fournier's gain. The Servette defender has been recalled to the national squad despite missing out on the start of the season with a torn tendon. "I know that Fournier is lacking in match practice," Trossero said. "But he can play perhaps for an hour and that would be of use to us."
Trossero is also putting his faith in a medical recovery by first choice goalkeeper, Pascal Zuberbühler. The Bayer Leverkusen keeper was forced to pull out of Sunday's German Cup match against Fortuna Köln with an inflamed calf muscle.
The Swiss coach has named two replacement keepers, FC Zurich's Marco Pascolo and St Gallen's Jörg Stiel, in case Zuberbühler is unable to play.
The Russian coach, Oleg Romatsev, has also been forced into making changes ahead of the match, although bad form rather than injury was his greatest concern. Romatsev announced on Wednesday that he was dropping Spartak Moscow striker, Andrei Tikhonov, a once prolific goalscorer who has found the net only once in the last 24 league matches.
The match will be the first qualifying game for both countries as they begin their campaigns to reach the World Cup finals in 2002. The six-nation group also includes Slovenia, Luxembourg, the Faroe Isles and European Championship quarter-finalists, Yugoslavia.
Goalkeepers: Marco Pascolo (FC Zurich), Jörg Stiel (St Gallen), Pascal Zuberbühler (Bayer Leverkusen)
Defenders: Sébastien Fournier (Servette), Stéphane Henchoz (Liverpool), Sébastien Jeanneret (Servette), Badile Lubamba (Lugano), Ludovic Magnin (Lugano), Giuseppe Mazzarelli (Bari), Patrick Müller (Lyon), Raphael Wicky (Werder Bremen)
Midfielders: Patrick Bühlmann (FC Zürich), Mario Cantaluppi (Basel), Alexandre Comisetti (Auxerre), Antonio Esposito (Grasshoppers), Johann Lonfat (Servette), Ciriaco Sforza (Bayern Munich), Johann Vogel (PSV Eindhoven)
Strikers: Ricardo Cabanas (Grasshoppers), Alexandre Rey (Servette), David Sesa (Napoli), Hakan Yakin (Grasshoppers)
Goalkeepers: Alexander Filimonov (Spartak Moscow), Ruslan Nigmatullin (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Defenders: Dmitry Khlestov (Besiktas), Viktor Onopko (Oviedo), Yuri Drozdov, Igor Chugainov, Andrei Solomatin (all Lokomotiv Moscow)
Midfielders: Alexander Mostovoi, Valery Karpin (both Celta Vigo), Dmitry Alenichev (Porto), Yegor Titov (Spartak Moscow), Alexei Smertin (Girondins Bordeaux), Dmitry Khoklov (Real Sociedad), Sergei Semak (CSKA Moscow), Dmitry Loskov (Lokomotiv Moscow), Rolan Gusev (Dynamo Moscow)
Strikers: Alexander Panov (St Etienne), Maxim Buznikin (Saturn Ramenskoye), Vladimir Beschastnykh (Racing Santander)
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