Sunday. Basel. Switzerland – Northern Ireland – 0:0. 90+3rd minute. Ricardo RODRIGUEZ knocks the ball out of empty gates, and the Swiss team goes to the final tournament. Photo: Reuters
The Swiss team will play in the final tournament of the world championship fourth time in a row.
THE CARNAGE IN LAUSANNE
The national team of banks, Alpine meadows and milk chocolate (such a stereotype) most of the second half of the twentieth century was, if not on the margins, somewhere in the periphery of European football. This retreat on the second or third plan was surprising, because until the mid-60s, the Swiss appeared consistently, albeit without major success, in orbit of world football.
They participated in 6 of the first 8 world Championships, one of which had organized themselves in 1954.
Three managed to reach the quarter – finals, in 1934 Switzerland lost to Czechoslovakia (2:3), in 1938 – Hungary (0:2), and in the 1954 Austria – the match is still the most productive in the history of the world Cup. The German press dubbed it “the Battle of Lausanne”, to 20 minutes, the Swiss were 3-0 up after 15 minutes the score was already 5-3 in favor of the Austrians, and it all ended with the defeat of the hosts 5:7.
THE HEALER HODGSON
Following the victory in the final tournament of the world Cup, Switzerland had to wait 40 years, despite the fact that she played in Chile-1962, England-1966: in both cases, the team suffered three defeats in the group and returned home. After that, the Swiss long forgotten road on the world football forum, while in 1992 the command was not accepted Roy Hodgson. He was able to qualify for the world Cup in USA (1994), where she reached the 1/8 finals – Switzerland won the group Romania (4:1), lost to Colombia (0:2) and played a draw with the hosts (1:1).
But in the quarter-finals of the Swiss did not let the Spaniards led by Fernando Hierro, Luis Enrique and Cheeky Begiristain (0:3). A year Hodgson for the first time in history, Switzerland has qualified for the European championship (1996), but shortly before the tournament was dismissed, and England national team are fortunate to have another coach is Portuguese Artur Jorge, who 7 years after that will be in CSKA.
Despite the seven goals, missed from Austria in 1954, the Swiss are renowned for their defense – no wonder they own the record of the world longest “dry” series in the final stages. 559 minutes – this result is set in South Africa in 2010, after Switzerland played at zero all four games at the 2006 world Cup (0:0 France 2:0, 2:0 South Korea 0:0 with Ukraine in the 1/8 finals 0:3 on penalties), and four years later began with a win over the future world champion – Spain (1:0). In the second round of the South African tournament Switzerland lost to Chile, the only goal was scored by mark Gonzalez, and record “dry” a series has stagnated, which is 9 minutes more than the previous achievement belonged to Italy.
THE FOURTH IN A ROW
The 2018 world Cup, which Sunday successfully made Switzerland, will be her fourth in a row. The path to the finals went unexpectedly thorny – team scored 9 victories in 10 matches in the group, but they still had to pass through a sieve of joints. The fact is that the main opponent was Portugal who scored the same points – 27.
In personal meetings the favorites exchanged victories with the identical account 2:0, but FIFA looks in the first place, on goal difference, and then with the European Champions to compete has been difficult: +28 vs +16. In the end, the team of Vladimir Petkovic, who actively matchmaker in Milan, went to sort things out with Northern Ireland also won a minimal victory thanks to a very weird penalty, but at home, in the pouring rain and flooded field, has defended the goalless draw.
THE MAIN CHARACTER
Despite the fact that the best scorer of the qualifying tournament with 4 goals became Benfica’s Haris Seferovic, a Swiss recognize the main hero left-back Milan, Ricardo Rodriguez – soccer player with Spanish and Chilean roots, not just expressing a desire to play for one of the national teams of these countries, but hasn’t waited for their response. Rodriguez was solid in defense and scored one of the goals in the important guest of the meeting with the Hungarians in the 2nd round (3:2), has implemented the very controversial penalty in the first game against Northern Ireland and, finally, saved for his team qualify for the 2018 world Cup, having beaten out a ball from empty gate in the second Sunday match.
Swiss army knife at the target, Switzerland goes to the world Cup. Interestingly, for a new “massacre” or another “dry” series?
Yegor BYCHKOV, Sport-Express