Switzerland coach Jakob 'Kobi' Kuhn, who has had to prepare his side for Euro 2008 while caring for his seriously ill wife, on Friday paid tribute to the support he had received from everyone connected with the Swiss side.
Alice Kuhn has been in hospital since suffering an epileptic seizure earlier this week. A statement issued by the Swiss Football on Friday said she “remains stable with progress being made with regard to her condition.”
Kuhn added: “It is a private matter but I would just say that I've a magnificent team behind me, starting with the players.
“Everyone has supported me and it is very encouraging for us.”
The veteran coach, who is due to retire after the tournament, said he was confident his squad was ready for the tournament's opening match, against the Czech Republic here on Saturday.
“Two years ago we went to the World Cup with a very young team,” Kuhn said.
“We have 16 or 17 players left from that squad and they are more experienced now. That is very significant for us. We also want to be able to use the 12th man, the Swiss public, and ensure that everyone is fully motivated to the tip of their hair.
“We respect the Czechs but we do not fear them.”
Kuhn's only concern is the state of mind of Patrick Muller, the experienced Lyon centreback who missed the second half of last season after undergoing knee surgery in December.
Muller defied the odds to return to the national squad for their final two warm-up matches but Kuhn admitted he would not make a final decision on whether the defender was sufficiently match fit for a competitive international until late on Friday.
“Patrick's own opinion on his situation is very important for me,” added Kuhn. “We'll have a chat after dinner and the decision will no doubt be taken tonight.”
Switzerland impressed at the last World Cup — going out to Ukraine on penalties in the second round having not conceded a goal in their four matches.
But they face a tough battle to get through a group that also includes Portugal and Turkey.
“The first match is absolutely vital,” Kuhn acknowledged. “The loser will be in a very difficult situation and will struggle to qualify. We know that, if we lose, we'll have to beat Turkey, which is not going to be easy.
“We are up against three teams that are in or close to the top ten in the world. It going to be difficult but we will make every effort to win tomorrow and after the three games we can add up the points and see who goes to the next round.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!