Switzerland looks to win group - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Switzerland looks to win group

21/06/2010 04:36:52 AM Comments (0)

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has raised his team's sights from simply qualifying for the round of 16 at the World Cup to winning a group that contains European champion Spain.

Hitzfeld's team surprisingly beat Spain 1-0 in its first match, and takes on Chile in its second match on Monday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. A win would all but ensure qualification for the second round.

"Before every match, I want to win," Hitzfeld said Sunday in remarks translated from German.

"Against Spain you can dream of a win and the dream becomes a reality. Against Chile we have different expectations. Now we have the possibility of taking first place, and we want to take the opportunity with both hands."

Hitzfeld said he had decided on a starting lineup, but would not "let the cat out of the bag today." He said he will announce the lineup to the squad at a meeting three hours before kick off.

"I will let them know whether I will name an attacking side, one or two forwards, we will see," he said. "Or we might have a lineup with two or three forwards to really go on the attack and win the match hands-down."

Hitzfeld smiled when asked if the win over Spain - Switzerland's first in 18 attempts - had caused his side to be taken more seriously.

"Well, in Switzerland we are always taken seriously," he said. "We got three points against Spain, and nobody expected us to."

Regardless, he said Chile has to be considered favorite for Monday's match at Nelson Bay Mandela Stadium, where the teams were unable to practice Sunday because the pitch was soggy from recent rain.

Chile "have a great deal of international experience, they came second in South America (qualifying), just one point less than Brazil," Hitzfeld said of the qualifying tournament. "That tells us a lot of about the strength of this team."

Chile beat Honduras in its first match and will be going up against a Swiss side that has gone 490 minutes in World Cups without yielding a goal. The Swiss were knocked out of the 2006 tournament in a shootout by Ukraine in the round of 16.

Switzerland's attempt to keep that scoreless streak alive will be harmed by the loss of key defender Philippe Senderos, who sprained his right ankle against Spain and is also expected to miss Switzerland's last group match against Honduras.

Midfielder Jean Beausejour, who scored Chile's goal against Honduras, said his side will have to change its focus against Switzerland.

"Honduras gave us the responsibility of trying to win the game. We were the ones looking to get a result," Beausejour said. "Against Switzerland, that's going to change a bit. They've got a potent counterattack and it's going to be a very even game."

Chile is hoping to have Humberto Suazo, the leading scorer in South American qualifying, back from a left thigh injury for the match.

Hitzfeld said his team's win over Spain had created more expectation, and with it, more stress.

"Well, you put on wrinkles, you grow older, there is a lot of pressure on coaches," Hitzfeld said. "There is a lot of strain, and as I've grown older, I've become calmer. But I still have the ambition to be successful. You can't put your feet up and rest of your laurels."

He is confident his players will treat what they've done against Spain the same way.

"Our team has strong character, and are very experienced," he said. "I think our players all realised just how sensational the win was. But they also know we cannot take it for granted to blow away Chile hands-down. We will walk on to the pitch as we did before the Spain match."

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