Sforza dropped for Slovenia showdown

Sforza juggles a ball in training as Trossero (in white) keeps his distance Keystone

Switzerland football coach Enzo Trossero has dropped Ciriaco Sforza from the starting line-up for Wednesday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Slovenia, following a row over who should captain the Swiss team.

This content was published on June 5, 2001 - 17:09

Trossero has called Servette's Sébastien Fournier into the midfield in place of Sforza, who played disappointingly during Saturday's 1-0 win over the Faroe Islands.

Following that match, the Bayern Munich player launched a verbal attack on Trossero over the coach's decision to award the captain's armband to Liverpool defender Stéphane Henchoz.

Henchoz had been Swiss captain during Sforza's three month injury layoff, but Sforza clearly expected to be put in charge following his return.

"It's a question of respect," Sforza insisted after discussing the matter with Trossero on Sunday. Claiming that he had only been told of the decision five minutes before the start of Saturday's match, Sforza said the coach's behaviour had been "in bad style".

The 31-year-old player has been capped 74 times by Switzerland, but has already been hinting that the row with Trossero could cause him to consider his international future.

Trossero insisted on Tuesday that his decision to drop Sforza was made on purely tactical grounds. "Fournier is a better man-marker than Sforza," said the 48-year-old Argentinian.

Trossero will be hoping that his players can ignore the row over Sforza as they prepare for Wednesday's vital encounter in Basel. Currently second in their qualifying group, a win would put Switzerland four points clear of third-placed Slovenia, with just three rounds remaining.

If they can hold on to second place, Switzerland will have a chance to qualify for the 2002 World Cup finals via the play-offs.

Trossero has made just one other change to the side that kicked off against the Faroe Islands, promoting Blaise N'Kufo to a starting position at the expense of David Sesa.

Swiss starting line-up:

Goalkeeper: Marco Pascolo
Defenders: Marc Zellweger, Stéphane Henchoz, Patrick Müller, Yvan Quentin
Midfielders: Raphaël Wicky, Johann Vogel, Sébastien Fournier, Massimo Lombardo
Forwards: Blaise N'Kufo, Alex Frei

swissinfo with agencies

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