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Switzerland out to salvage pride

June 21, 2004 11:48 IST

Switzerland have vowed to restore their tarnished reputation by pulling off an unexpected victory in their final Euro 2004 Group B match against champions France today.

Beset by poor form and disciplinary problems that have affected their image on and off the pitch, coach Koebi Kuhn's players believe they have to show pride and passion if they are to snatch an unlikely place in the quarter-finals.

A win, which would end France's 20-match unbeaten run, could be enough to take them into the last eight if there is a positive result in the other game between England and Croatia.

"It's our last chance and every player must go into this match believing that the only attitude is to take the chance against France," attacking midfielder Hakan Yakin said.

"It could be that the French team will be a little nervous and they may think they don't have to be at their best against us," he added.

"For us, we know that if we can only score one goal, it will lift a lot of pressure and send us on our way."

The Swiss drew 0-0 with Croatia and lost 3-0 to England after being reduced to 10 men in both games.

In the first game, it was midfield lynchpin Johann Vogel and in the second right back Bernt Haas who were shown red cards after two cautions apiece.

Striker Alexander Frei has since been accused of spitting at England's Steven Gerrard and cleared by a UEFA investigation but on Sunday was accused again after new film of the incident was made public.

IN TURMOIL

All of this has left the Swiss in turmoil but keen to salvage pride against a French side that has yet to find its rhythm and best formation.

France need only a point to claim a quarter-final place but coach Jacques Santini has said his team will go all-out for victory.

"We're going to chase a positive result against Switzerland. We came here to play six matches," he said. "We will start with the best possible team against the Swiss because nothing but a victory will do it for us."

Santini seems reluctant to change his beloved 4-4-2 formation, but has hinted at changes. Captain Marcel Desailly is likely to be dropped after a poor game against Croatia and midfielders Olivier Dacourt and Sylvain Wiltord, who looked rusty, should be replaced by Robert Pires and the fit-again Claude Makelele.

Probable teams:

Switzerland (4-3-1-2): 1-Joerg Stiel; 4-Stephane Henchoz, 20-Patrick Mueller, 5-Murat Yakin, 17-Christoph Spycher; 18-Benjamin Huggel (or 7-Ricardo Cabanas), 6-Johann Vogel, 8-Raphael Wicky; 10-Hakan Yakin; 11-Stephane Chapuisat, 9-Alexander Frei (or 22-Johann Vonlanthen).

France (4-4-2): 16-Fabien Barthez; 5-William Gallas, 15-Lilian Thuram, 13-Mikael Silvestre, 3-Bixente Lizarazu; 4-Patrick Vieira, 6-Claude Makelele, 7-Robert Pires, 10-Zinedine Zidane; 12-Thierry Henry, 20-David Trezeguet.

Referee: Lubos Michel (Slovakia)

Linesmen: Igor Sramka and Martin Balka

Source:
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