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Penalty woes crash Swiss dream

india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 04:22 IST
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Ukraine beat Switzerland 3-0 on penalties to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Monday after the two teams had played out a sterile scoreless draw.

Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko missed the first penalty but Switzerland missed their first three penalties before Oleg Gusev put Ukraine into the quarter-finals with the clinching penalty.

Ukraine, playing at their first finals, now meet Italy in the last eight. The game was a desperately dull affair, with neither side prepared to risk throwing many men forward. Both teams came close to breaking the tedium in the first half with shots that found the woodwork.

Ukraine captain and top scorer Shevchenko was first up, heading down a 21st minute Maxim Kalinichenko free kick, only to see the ball bounce up and off the bar. It would have been the first goal conceded by Switzerland in this World Cup.

Three minutes later Swiss top scorer Alex Frei hit a 25-metre free kick against the top of Oleksander Shovkovsky's post, with midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta failing to turn in the rebound.

The second half began more brightly for Ukraine with Andriy Voronin heading wide in the 46th minute before testing Swiss keeper Pascal Zuberbuehler with a low shot in the 52nd.

Shevchenko threatened in the 67th minute when he skilfully brought the ball down only to lash it wide of the Swiss goal. The Chelsea-bound striker's urgency prompted optimistic cries of "Sheva, Sheva" from the heavily outnumbered Ukraine supporters.

Their prayers for a goal were nearly answered with 15 minutes of regular time remaining when Kalinichenko fired in a dangerous-looking corner. Andriy Husin met the ball with his head but to the further frustration of Ukraine -- and every neutral in the ground -- the effort was once again off target.

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