Preview: Switzerland v Ukraine

Switzerland are attempting to reach the quarter finals of the World Cup for the first time in 52 years, while Ukraine are looking to see just how far they can go in their debut tournament, with the two teams meeting in a second round clash in Cologne on Monday.

    Finding form: Swiss striker Alexander Frei

    The Swiss have been one of the few surprise packets of the tournament, as they topped Group G over more fancied teams such as France and South Korea.

    Kobi Kuhn's side were also the only team in the group stage to keep three clean sheets, which is a great achievement for the Swiss defenders and goal keeper Pascal Zuberbuhler.

    "No goals against us in three matches - I am grateful to the defence and the goalie," said Kuhn.

    Indeed, the Swiss defence has been solid, however they will be tested in the match against Ukraine as Arsenal centre half Philippe Senderos is out of the tournament after dislocating his shoulder in the final group match against South Korea.

    21 year old Senderos has been a key player in all three of Switzerland's matches thus far, even scoring the opening goal against the South Koreans, so it will be a real test for the Swiss to see if they can cope without their defensive rock.

    On the positive side for Kuhn's men, striker Alex Frei is starting to find some form, having scored two goals in three matches so far, with the coach praising the Rennes striker’s efforts.

    "I think he can score more goals in the competition. Whether or not he will be the best of the strikers, I don't know, but there is a chance," the Swiss coach said.

    Showing some heart

    One player who may sway opinions on whether Frei will be the best of the strikers is Ukraine forward Andriy Shevchenko, who has scored two goals of his own in his maiden World Cup Finals.

    Chelsea bound Shevchenko was in a positive mood ahead of the match with the Swiss, and hoped that Ukraine supporters were now back behind the team after their shocking 4-0 loss to Spain in their first ever World Cup Finals match.

    Ukraine's key player Andriy

    "All the teams are strong at this stage. If the team shows heart then with our fans behind us we can hopefully go further," the star striker said.

    Oleg Blokhin, Ukraine coach, will be without two defenders of his own with Arsenal Kiev's Vyacheslav Sviderskyi and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's Andriy Rusol both out of the match through suspension.

    The winner of this game will go into a quarter final match in Hamburg on Friday, 30th June against the winner of the second round match between Italy and Australia.

    Swiss coach Kuhn was upbeat about Switzerland's chances of going on to equal, and then surpass their best World Cup finish.

    "We are growing in confidence and now anything is possible. We can beat Ukraine and advance further - why not?"

    One thing is for certain, the Ukrainians will be out to show them why not on Monday.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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