'Swiss better now than four years ago'
Switzerland's national soccer team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld smiles as he addresses a news conference in Porto Seguro June 11, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
Sunday 15 Jun 2014
Switzerland coach dreams to get to the second round and then thinking of further

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld believes his side are better, more creative and more attacking than four years ago when they stunned eventual World Cup winners Spain.

Hitzfeld, the 65-year-old former coach of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, begins his Group E campaign against Ecuador on Sunday before his side face France and Honduras.

The veteran boss believes a place in the last 16 is within his team's grasp, which would compensate for a first round exit in South Africa in 2010 despite their famous 1-0 win over the Spaniards.

"My dream is to get to the second round and then we can dream of going further," said Hitzfeld on Saturday.

The German, who retires after this World Cup, has blended the battle-hardened troops of 2010 with an exciting crop of youngsters such as Haris Seferovic, Granit Xhaka and Pajtim Kasami as well as the highly-regarded Xherdan Shaqiri.

"We started a transition four years ago, we have rejuvenated the group of experienced players," said Hitzfeld.

"The team are better, more attacking, more creative with better organisation than in 2010.

"Switzerland are well-organised, capable of quickly switching from defence to attack. The players are tense, that's normal, but we have the experience to counter that."

Despite his confidence, Hitzfeld is wary of the challenges posed by an Ecuador team that didn't qualify in 2010 and whose best performance was a run to the last 16 in Germany in 2006.

"They have some good players, their strength is the counter-attack. Every team has its strengths and weaknesses and Ecuador will have analysed ours."

Switzerland are the top seeds in the group even though France are the 1998 champions and Euro 2000 winners, but Hitzfeld has plenty of respect for Didier Deschamps's side.

"We are ahead of France in the FIFA standings because we have been successful with good performances in the last few years, but France have huge potential and are amongst the favourites," said Hitzfeld.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)


Short link:


Add Comment
Comment's Title
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.