Switzerland content with World Cup draw

The French have been unable to beat the Swiss in three matches in a row Keystone

Swiss coach Köbi Kuhn says he is proud of the resolve his players displayed as they won their first point of the World Cup campaign against France on Tuesday.

This content was published on June 14, 2006 minutes

Switzerland had to overcome a difficult start during the goalless stalemate in Stuttgart to record their third successive draw against the 1998 World Cup winners and 2000 European champions.

"We have a point and we have to be satisfied because the match is finished and it is no good about talking about points won or lost," Kuhn said.

"The team showed a lot of willpower and they played extremely well against remarkable players like Thierry Henry and Franck Ribéry."

Defender Ludovic Magnin told swissinfo that it is too early to read too much into the result against France – their opening match in the World Cup.

"We cannot yet say if it is a point won or two points lost. We will only know after we have played against Togo and South Korea. Only then will we see if we needed another two points against France."

Striker Alex Frei, who nearly snatched a dramatic win in the dying seconds of the match, was more upbeat about the result.

"It is good to get a point against our name because we are now up and running in the competition which gives us confidence," he told swissinfo.

"We now have six days to prepare for Togo [Switzerland's next opponents next Monday] and we are determined to succeed."

Crucial game

Kuhn believes the match against Togo, who lost 2-1 against South Korea on Tuesday, will be even more important than the opening game.

"I have always said that the second match is the crucial, decisive game and we have to win against Togo," he said.

He admitted that Switzerland put in a lacklustre performance in the first half against France, but is adamant that his side can improve.

"The French were stronger than us in the first half when we lost the ball too much. The areas we must improve on for our next game are retaining possession of the ball and being more effective in the space between the opposition defence and midfield," he said.

"However, we must remember that we were playing against a side made up of wonderful players and we can overcome these problems."

French coach Raymond Domenech praised the way Switzerland played in Stuttgart and in the previous two games in which the sides have met, that have all ended in draws.

"It is almost a habit when we play against Switzerland to get a draw and we are getting used to sharing the points. Switzerland must be a good team because we haven't been able to beat them in three games," he said.

swissinfo, Matthew Allen in Stuttgart

In brief

Last year Switzerland and France drew 0-0 and 1-1 respectively in two qualifying matches for the 2006 World Cup.

France, 1998 World Cup winners, are currently eighth in the Fifa ranking, while Switzerland are 35th.

The Swiss team will face Togo next Monday and South Korea on June 23. The first two teams in each group qualify for the first knockout stage of the tournament.

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Key facts

Statistics from Tuesday's match:
Shots: Switzerland 7, France 9
Shots on target: Switzerland 4, France 3
Possession: Switzerland 49%, France 51%
Yellow cards: Ludovic Magnin, Marco Streller, Philipp Degen, Ricardo Cabanas, Alex Frei (Switzerland); Eric Abidal, Zinedine Zidane, Willy Sagnol (France)

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