Switzerland end friendly hoodoo
Switzerland 2-0 Slovakia
UEFA EURO 2008™ co-hosts Switzerland registered a morale-boosting 2-0 win against Slovakia at the Stadio Cornaredo in Lugano following four successive defeats in previous friendly matches.
Coach Jakob Kuhn had selected Slovakia as an opponent due to a perceived similarity in style to the Czech Republic, who Switzerland will face in their UEFA EURO 2008™ opener in Basel on 7 June. His side were, however, forced to begin the match without the injured Tranquillo Barnetta, Christoph Spycher and Philipp Degen although all are expected to be back in time for this summer's tournament.
In a 4-4-2 formation, Kuhn opted for Alexander Frei and Marco Streller as his attackers while central defender Patrick Müller was back in action having recovered from torn cruciate ligaments. His return gave the Swiss defence much needed stability that had been lacking in previous friendlies. Both teams had trouble creating anything noteworthy in the first half with Frei being denied twice close to half-time by Slovakia custodian Ján Mucha.
In the second half Switzerland upped the ante in front of a crowd of 10,150 with Johan Vonlanthen firing over the bar after a backheel by Streller. Valon Behrami, growing stronger by the minute on the right side of midfield, opened the scoring when he pounced on a rebound off Mucha following a Gökhan Inler effort after 56 minutes.
It was Behrami again who provided the assist for Frei to make it 2-0 seven minutes later, when the BV Borussia Dortmund striker finished from close range. Switzerland host neighbours Liechtenstein in their final friendly before they begin their UEFA EURO 2008™ campaign in Group A.
Switzerland: Benaglio; Lichtsteiner (Grichting 77), Müller (Djourou 77), Senderos, Magnin; Behrami (Cabanas 84), Inler, Fernandes, Vonlanthen (Gygax 68); Frei (Yakin 80), Streller (Derdiyok 64).
Slovakia: Mucha; Pekarík, Petráš, Brezinsky, Čech (Salata 84); Kolbas (Hološko 46), Zabavník, Hamšík (Dolezaj 90), Obžera (Vaščák 75); Vittek; Jakubko (Mintál 71).