Switzerland’s footballers have not given up hope of qualifying for the quarter-finals of Euro 2004, despite a goalless draw against Croatia on Sunday.
The Swiss face a major test on Thursday against England, who lost their opening match against France.
“I don’t know yet if the draw will help us during the tournament. Only time can tell. But what is certain: we can be proud of our performance,” said Switzerland’s manager Köbi Kuhn.
Kuhn was speaking after ten-man Switzerland salvaged a draw in their opening match against Croatia at the Dr Magalhaes Pessoa stadium in Leiria.
Prior to the game the Swiss manager had insisted that a victory was needed against Croatia before taking on England and France in their remaining two Group B matches.
But after midfielder Johann Vogel was sent off at the beginning of the second half, the Swiss had their work cut out to avoid defeat.
“Given that we were one man down we can be pleased with the result,” said Swiss midfielder Fabio Celestini.
“We even had a few chances of winning the match,” he added.
“We won a point; it was no easy task with one man down,” said Liverpool defender Stéphane Henchoz. “It is now up to us to decide our destiny in the next matches.”
Henchoz warned that Thursday’s game against England would not be easy.
“If we want to stand a chance against England, we have to improve our game,” he said.
England will be desperate to win after losing 2-1 to defending champions France.
Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson’s team, who appeared to have the game sewn up, conceded two injury-time goals scored by Zinédine Zidane.
“There is plenty of time to prepare for the match against England,” said midfielder Raphael Wicky.
“We have an excellent team and we know that we are capable of staging an upset.”
Eight years ago Switzerland held hosts England to a 1-1 draw in the opening match of Euro 96.
swissinfo, Mathias Froidevaux in Leiria
Switzerland drew their opening match at Euro 2004, just as they did eight years ago at Euro 96.
Johann Vogel was sent off after receiving a second yellow card in the 50th minute of Sunday’s match.
Goalkeeper Jörg Stiel and Benjamin Huggel were also booked.
France lead Group B after the opening matches on Sunday.
Switzerland and Croatia played out a 0-0 draw in front of 26,000 spectators in Leiria.
Titleholders France beat England 2-1 in Lisbon.
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