With Euro 2000 barely over, the footballing world is already turning its attention to thoughts of the next World Cup. Switzerland failed to make it to France '98.
Fans will be hoping for greater success in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. Hoping to get them there is new team coach, Enzo Trossero, who's arrived in Zurich from his native Argentina to take up the position.
Swiss football fans will now be hoping for a return to better days. Under the Englishman, Roy Hodgson, the Swiss got through to the '94 World Cup in the United States and made it to the second round before losing three-nil to Spain.
Trossero is no stranger to the World Cup either and was part of the Argentinian squad that played in the '82 finals. Nor is he unknown in Switzerland having led FC Sion to the national championship in 1992.
And he's clearly relishing the prospect of coaching Switzerland.
"It's a very important challenge," said Trossero at his first news conference as national coach, "But I'm used to challenges. The qualifying games will be very difficult but I think Swiss players have the quality, especially since so many play abroad now. That makes selection difficult but it's good for playing experience. I think we'll qualify and that's why I'm here."
Switzerland begins the long road to World Cup qualification at the beginning of September with a home game against Russia.
Euro 2000 quarter-finalists, Yugoslavia, are also in the same group. It's a tough draw and many will be surprised if Switzerland makes it through.
Stars such as Stephane Chapuisat and Kubilay Türkyilmaz aren't getting any younger and there are no obvious contenders to fill their boots. That's why it came as no surprise to hear Trossero dismiss those who've questioned Türkyilmaz's commitment to the national team.
"All good players will find a place in my squad," he said. "I won't look back to the past, I'm looking at today and at the future. What's happened before isn't important."
Since Trossero's appointment earlier this year, there has been some media criticism of his coaching tactics as too defensive. Many were keen to ask if his style had changed in recent years.
"I'm always changing," said Trossero, "But I'm not going to speak tactics with journalists before I've spoken to the players."
During his playing days in Argentina, Trossero was known as "The Warrior." It's a name he'll do well to remember over the next couple of years. Leading Switzerland to World Cup glory will take all his battling skills.
by Michael Hollingdale
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