Press laments a dream cut short by "brutal" penalties

The face says it all

Swiss newspapers summed up the nation's disappointment at the failure to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup, in a goalless match against Ukraine that ended in penalties.

This content was published on June 27, 2006 minutes

But the papers praise Switzerland's overall performance in Germany and look ahead optimistically to the young Swiss team's chances in Euro 2008.

It shouldn't have ended this way, is the feeling of most editorial writers, commenting on what everyone agrees was an unsatisfactory match characterised by cautious tactics and few shots at the net.

"With a little luck it could have been the biggest success since 1954, when Switzerland reached the quarterfinals, before losing 5-7 to Austria," lamented the Zurich-based Tages-Anzeiger.

"Nevertheless, despite failing to get even one penalty past the Ukraine goalkeeper, the Swiss team can be proud of what was achieved," the paper continued, pointing out that the Swiss had finished at the top of their group, ahead of favourites France.

"Such a bitter disappointment," is the sentiment in the French-language daily, Le Temps, describing the match as two hours of agony, boredom and tragedy. "Losing without having really played or having conceded a single goal in four matches is tough."

For Le Temps the match was like a game of chess: "It was very calculated – too thought out. But that's modern football; it's not particularly exciting."


The tabloid Blick spoke of "penalty tears" with photographs of the Swiss players shedding the same. Blick felt that the team had deserved better than to go out on penalties and that individuals should not be singled out for the way the team was knocked out.

"The dream is over", lamented the Basler Zeitung, the Tages-Anzeiger and the Neue Luzerner Zeitung.

But the "Berner Zeitung" felt that the team's reputation had grown in stature as a result of the tournament. It added that offensively the Swiss had not been as strong as against South Korea, but the defence had been particularly solid.

The French-language tabloid Le Matin said it had not been a great match as the team was less decisive than the week before and the defeat was particularly galling as the match had been there for the taking.

The Italian-language La Regione talked about a "hard return to reality that we would have liked to have experienced much later". The newspaper added: "We bid farewell to the World Cup with a mixture of applause and disappointment."

The Tages-Anzeiger was less forgiving, calling it the poorest game of the tournament so far. The Italian-language Corriere del Ticino echoed this sentiment, "It was a disastrous and boring match and the spectators who were not supporting either side couldn't help but whistle their disapproval."

Rosy future

Despite the bitter blow, the press looks ahead to Euro 2008 and Switzerland's chances as co-organiser. "The Swiss team has a great future ahead of it," said Blick. "This generation has developed the self-confidence of a great team."

It added that whereas the team used to be more individualistic and dominated by certain regions, the current multi-cultural squad seems to have a true purpose.

Le Temps added: "We need to very quickly find our smile again and look at the positive side of our performance and forget the negative, focusing on our next objective Euro 2008."

swissinfo, Simon Bradley

In brief

It was Switzerland's eighth appearance in the history of the World Cup.

The Swiss reached the quarterfinal stage in 1934, 1938 and 1954 - the year they hosted the tournament.

Their last appearance before this year was in 1994 when they were knocked out in the round of 16 by Spain.

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Key facts

The match in Cologne ended 0-0 after extra time.
Milevski, Rebrov and Gusev scored for Ukraine on penalties.
Switzerland's Streller, Barnetta and Cabanas missed their spotkicks.
Zuberbühler saved Shevchenko's penalty.

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