Switzerland pay the price for defensive lapses

Enzo Trossero watching the Swiss team in his first match as coach Keystone

Switzerland's national football team drew 2-2 against Greece in Wednesday's friendly in St Gallen, only two weeks before they take on Russia in their first World Cup qualifying match.

This content was published on August 17, 2000 - 08:54

Swiss sports journalists were critical on Thursday of the first performance by Swizerland under their new Argentinian coach, Enzo Trossero.

"A lacklustre start" commented the Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger. Much needs to be done, it said, before the crucial match against Russia on September 2.

The Swiss, said Le Temps, were flattered by the result. It said the Swiss came off second best in most encounters, had little rhythm or imagination, and should have lost. The Swiss "are not ready for bigger things" commented Der Bund of Berne.

In the match, Alexandre Comisetti gave Switzerland the lead in the 12th minute -his fourth goal for the national side.

However, gaps in the Swiss defence and a mistake by Switzerland's goalie, Pascal Zuberbühler, allowed the Greek captain, Marinos Ouzunidis, to equalise in the 20th minute, after a free-kick.

Only three minutes later, Georgios Georgiadis found plenty of space on the right wing and scored, giving the Greeks a half-time lead.

The second half saw a number of changes in the Swiss team. Among them was the Lugano player, Ludovic Mania, who came on for his debut, replacing the Liverpool central defender, Stéphane Henchoz.

Raphael Wicky was also brought back from midfield to support the defence. The striker, Alexandre Rey, came on to replace David Sesa in the 59th minute.

In midfield, Antonio Esposito of Grasshoppers Zurich took over from Eindhoven player, Johann Vogel, in the 67th minute. Twelve minutes later a free kick by Esposito was headed in by Hakan Yakin.

Apart from the equaliser, the Swiss had few serious chances in the second half. A free kick from Comisetti in the 50th minute ended up just inches above the crossbar.

After the match, the new Swiss coach Enzo Trossero said: "We faced a very strong Greek side."

Reacting to criticism about Switzerland's poor defence, Trossero admitted: "I made a mistake in initially playing only three defenders. The players were simply not used to it. And so after the break I changed to a 4-4-2 system which did the trick.

"I already know that we will be using four defenders against the Russians," Trossero said, "I am optimistic that we will play well against them."

He added: "In any case, we will have more time to prepare against Russia than we did for the game against the Greeks."

In a recent newspaper interview Trossero said he would resign if Switzerland failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

His first test will be the match in Zurich against Russia. Russia beat Israel 1-0 in a friendly on Wednesday in Moscow.

swissinfo with agencies

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?