Friday, February 23, 2024

Swiss coach takes a Euro gamble with Lyon´s Muller

Swiss national football coach Jakob “Kobi” Kuhn said he was taking a gamble by including defender Patrick Muller in his initial Euro 2008 squad released on Tuesday.

The Lyon back is a key member of the Euro 2008 co-hosts’ defence but he approaches next month’s finals after a season blighted by a knee injury.

“There are still question marks” over Muller, Kuhn told journalists.

Question marks also hover over another of Kuhn’s defenders, Philipp Degen of Borussia Dortmund, who has suffered with muscular fibrosis.

Both players will undergo intensive training and medical examinations in the coming week, Kuhn said.

In any case, the Swiss coach will have to whittle down his selection by a further three spots by May 28, the deadline set by European football’s governing body UEFA for final team lists to be submitted.

Kuhn said he knew that some players would be disappointed at being left out but he believed he had made the best possible selection.

“Only time will tell if we are able to improve on our showing” at the last Euro championships in Portugal in 2004, he said.

In that competition, Switzerland finished bottom of their group against England, France and Croatia.

Kuhn’s boys fared better in the 2006 World Cup in Germany however, reaching the last 16 of the latter before going out on penalties to Ukraine having not conceded a goal in the tournament.

Philippe Senderos of Arsenal made the cut despite suffering intense mental pressure after a bitterly disappointing season with the Gunners, who were left empty-handed for the third consecutive season after Manchester United bagged the Premiership and Liverpool knocked them out of the Champions League.

Senderos is joined in the defenders line-up by fellow Gunner Johan Djourou.

In attack, all eyes will be on Alexander Frei, in the hope he will return to form after a lacklustre season with Borussia Dortmund.

He will be joined by Hakan Yakin of Young Boys Bern, the top goalscorer in this year’s Axpo Super League even though his team lost out to rivals FC Basel last weekend in a closely-fought last day decider.

Switzerland are scheduled to attend a training camp in Lugano ahead of their opening Euro 2008 game in Basel against the Czech Republic on June 7.


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