Toothless Swiss suffer World Cup agony

Last Updated: Jun 26, 2010, 08:56 AM IST

Bloemfontein: Goal-shy Switzerland suffered World Cup heartbreak today when they crashed out of the tournament after a goalless stalemate against central American minnows Honduras.

The Swiss started the match knowing they needed to score
twice to guarantee a berth in the knockout phase but they
squandered a host of chances in chilly Bloemfontein.

Switzerland, who dropped record goalscorer Alexander
Frei, choosing instead to pair Blaise Nkufo with Eren Derdiyok
up front, dominated possession in the first half but could not
find the net despite creating clear openings.

Gokhan Inler dragged a left-footed strike wide from the
edge of the penalty box after 10 minutes in a half-full Free
State Stadium.

And minutes later Derdiyok was presented with a clear
scoring chance following a pinpoint cross from the right by
Tranquillo Barnetta, but headed wide.

At the start of the second half Switzerland coach Ottmar
Hitzfeld threw on midfielder Hakan Yakin for Gelson Fernandes.

Honduras came close to breaking the deadlock when David
Suazo missed the target after a cross from the right from
Edgar Alvarez as the Swiss failed to settle in the early
stages of the second period.

Switzerland`s Tranquillo Barnetta forced Noel Valladares
into a save from the edge of the box 15 minutes into the
second half with Derdiyok also testing the Honduras goalkeeper
but the central American team remained a threat on the break.

Midway through the second period, Hitzfeld sent Frei on
for Nkufo in a bid to find a way past their opponents, who
came into the match rooted at the bottom of Group H after two
defeats.

But Honduras continued to threaten as the game became
stretched with Alvarez forcing Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio
to tip over.

But with time ebbing away Frei had a couple of half
chances and Stephan Lichtsteiner drove over from the edge of
the penalty box as Swiss frustration began to show.

Switzerland, who earlier in the tournament set a World
Cup record for the number of minutes without conceding a goal,
came into the match with just three goals in their past seven
internationals.

The Swiss reached the last 16 in Germany in 2006 before
losing on penalties to Ukraine.

Honduras leave South Africa with just a single point
after failing to score any goals.

Bureau Report