By Mark Ledsom
STUTTGART – Switzerland had plenty of reason to be satisfied after starting their World Cup campaign with a 0-0 draw against the French on Tuesday but coach Koebi Kuhn knows his team must now get their scoring boots on.
Having held the fo
rmer world and European champions to a third successive stalemate, the pressure will now be on the Swiss as they take their turn being favourites in their final two Group G matches against Togo and South Korea.
“I always said that the second game (against Togo) would be very important to us if we are to be in contention until the end,” Kuhn said, before heading back with his team to their training camp in the secluded spa resort of Bad Bertrich.
“We have to play for a win against the Togolese but the same applies to them after their defeat to South Korea, so it won’t be an easy match.”
Although a win over Togo on Monday would strongly enhance Switzerland’s chances of making the second round, they can now only guarantee their place with a favourable result in their final match against South Korea on June 23.
To be at full strength for that encounter, Kuhn’s men will have to play very cleanly against Togo or hope for a more lenient referee than Valentin Ivanov who booked five Swiss players on Tuesday — much to their coach’s bemusement.
“We had five yellow cards and I don’t understand why,” Kuhn shrugged. “I did not know what was happening or why the referee made some of those decisions.”
Switzerland also ended the match with a couple of injury doubts over defenders Patrick Mueller and Philipp Degen.
Mueller had to be substituted in the 74th minute, possibly with slight sun stroke and Degen had to limp around with a foot injury in the closing stages with Kuhn having already brought on his three permitted subs.
Team doctors said they would be assessing both players on Wednesday. — Reuter