Preview: Togo v Switzerland

Seven-time World Cup Finalists Switzerland meet Cup Finals debutants Togo for the first time ever in their Group G match in Dortmund on Monday.

    Mohamed Kader, scorer of Togo's first ever World Cup Finals goal

    There has been drama ahead of the match, as has been the case with Togo throughout the tournament, with the Africans threatening to boycott the match over ongoing pay disputes.

    FIFA has since stepped in and Togo will play at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, but their preparation has been disrupted due to missing their scheduled flight.

    With coach Otto Pfister walking out on the squad three days before their first match against South Korea only to return on the eve of the game, you would think the worst was behind Togo.

    The Cup debutants led the Koreans at half time before having a player red carded and going down 2-1, with Pfister citing his team’s relaxed attitude as something he has to work on ahead of their next match.

    "African players take it very easy - they think they are going to win before the game. You have to respect the opposition - the players thought we were going to win and get three points. But it is time to forget about that - it is old news - and concentrate on Switzerland," Pfister said

    Apoel defender Jean-Paul Abalo will miss the match through suspension, with the Sparrow Hawks again set to rely on big games from Arsenal forward Emmanuel Adebayor and first match goal scorer Mohamed Kader.

    Switzerland played out a 0-0 draw with former World Champions France in their opening match with the defensive aspect of their team looking very much on song.

    Alexander Frei needs to lift his
    game

    Swiss defenders Philippe Senderos of Arsenal and Stuttgart’s Ludovic Magnin kept the likes of Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord, and Louis Saha quiet in the match against the French, and will be looking to do the same with Adebayor and Kader.

    Even with the clean sheet, Koebi Kuhn, Swiss coach, thought his side had to work on their defence and their ball control.

    "My team played with a lot of will but we have a number of things to put right, especially in defence and ball possession,” said Kuhn.

    Contrary to what Kuhn may believe, the Europeans’ problems seemed to be when they were in front of goal with some poor finishing by Rennes striker Alexander Frei and a quiet match from Cologne forward Marco Streller, both of whom need to lift if the Swiss are to progress from the group.

    With the highly fancied France misfiring, Group G may become an open affair with bigger things to come for the winner of this match and after Ghana's big performance earlier in the week, Togo will want to do Africa proud again.

    Or at least turn up for the game.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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