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Toothless Swiss suffer World Cup agony

sports Updated: Jun 26, 2010 11:06 IST

Goal-shy Switzerland suffered World Cup heartbreak when they crashed out of the tournament after a goalless stalemate against central American minnows Honduras.

The Swiss started the Group H clash knowing they needed to score twice to guarantee a berth in the knockout phase but they squandered a host of chances in chilly Bloemfontein.

"It took us a very long time to find our game and Honduras created chances before us," said Switzerland's German coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, after seeing Spain and Chile taking the two qualifying spots in Group H.

"We then had chances of our own, but we didn't deserve to qualify because we didn't score.

"The disappointment tonight is very deep, because after our opening victory against Spain we had great hopes. Now we'll go home and all we can do is concentrate on the future, on the Euro 2012 qualifiers."

Honduras coach Reinaldo Rueda said: "It was a very intense match. It opened up at the end. We lacked precision, we lacked maturity for the final pass and goalscoring.

"It was a dream to go to the next phase. We were unable to unleash that potential."

Switzerland, who dropped record goalscorer Alexander Frei, choosing instead to pair Blaise Nkufo with Eren Derdiyok up front, dominated possession in the first half but could not find the net despite creating clear openings.

Gokhan Inler dragged a left-footed strike wide from the edge of the penalty box after 10 minutes in front of a crowd of just over 28,000 in the Free State Stadium.

And minutes later Derdiyok was presented with a clear scoring chance following a pinpoint cross from the right by Tranquillo Barnetta, but headed wide.

At the start of the second half Hitzfeld threw on midfielder Hakan Yakin for Gelson Fernandes.

Honduras came close to breaking the deadlock when David Suazo missed the target after a cross from the right from Edgar Alvarez as the Swiss failed to settle in the early stages of the second period.