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Toothless Swiss suffer World Cup agony

sports Updated: Jun 26, 2010 02:28 IST
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Goal-shy Switzerland suffered World Cup heartbreak on Friday when they crashed out of the tournament after a goalless stalemate against central American minnows Honduras.

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

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 a half-full 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 Switzerland coach Ottmar 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.

Switzerland's Tranquillo Barnetta forced Noel Valladares into a save from the edge of the box 15 minutes into the second half with Derdiyok also testing the Honduras goalkeeper but the central American team remained a threat on the break.

Midway through the second period, Hitzfeld sent Frei on for Nkufo in a bid to find a way past their opponents, who came into the match rooted at the bottom of Group H after two defeats.

But Honduras continued to threaten as the game became stretched with Alvarez forcing Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio to tip over.

But with time ebbing away Frei had a couple of half chances and Stephan Lichtsteiner drove over from the edge of the penalty box as Swiss frustration began to show.

Switzerland, who earlier in the tournament set a World Cup record for the number of minutes without conceding a goal, came into the match with just three goals in their past seven internationals.

The Swiss reached the last 16 in Germany in 2006 before losing on penalties to Ukraine. Honduras leave South Africa with just a single point after failing to score any goals.