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Swiss take on Turkey for ticket to Germany

Turkey stand in the way of Switzerland for the World Cup in Germany

(Keystone)

Switzerland have drawn Turkey in the decisive European qualifying playoffs for the football World Cup in Germany next year.

The draw took place on Friday at the headquarters of football's governing body, Fifa, in Zurich.

Switzerland failed to qualify automatically for the tournament because they only managed a goalless draw in Wednesday's Group 4 qualifying match against Ireland in Dublin.

France claimed top spot and automatically qualified with an emphatic 4-0 home win over Cyprus.

The Swiss had started on Wednesday level on 17 points with France and a point behind leaders Israel, who had completed all their games.

Switzerland's draw in Dublin brought them level on 18 points with Israel and their superior goal difference meant they advanced to the playoffs.

Optimistic Kuhn

Swiss trainer Köbi Kuhn was optimistic after learning that Turkey would be the final hurdle before next year's World Cup in Germany.

"We knew that we were going to face a class opponent but I have absolutely no fear. I am very confident," he commented.

There were three seeded teams in the draw – the Czech Republic, Spain and Turkey – and each was paired with one of the unseeded trio of Norway, Switzerland and Slovakia.

The seedings were based on the teams' positions in the Fifa world rankings. The three squads which win the playoffs will join the ten other European teams, plus the host country, which have qualified for Germany 2006.

In total, 32 teams from around the world will take part in the tournament.

Germany's Franz Beckenbauer, as president of the local organising committee of the 2006 World Cup, made the draw.

The ceremony was closely watched by Fifa President Sepp Blatter of Switzerland and representatives of the six associations concerned.

Switzerland lost none of their ten Group 4 matches, winning four and drawing the other six games.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The European playoffs for the finals of the World Cup in Germany next year include six teams: Spain, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Switzerland, Norway and Slovakia.
The draw is Spain against Slovakia, Turkey against Switzerland and Norway against the Czech Republic.
Matches (home and away) will take place on Saturday, November 12 and Wednesday, November 16.
Switzerland play the first leg at home in Bern on November 12.

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In brief

Final rankings in Group 4 of the European qualifying matches:
France, 20 points
Switzerland 18
Israel 18
Ireland 17
Cyprus 4
Faroe Islands 1

France qualified for the World Cup finals in 2006 automatically as group winner.

Switzerland, which came in second place, now go through to the playoffs for the World Cup.

end of infobox


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