BLOEMFONTEIN - Switzerland
Hitzfeld blamed an attack of nerves by his players for their
failure to qualify for the knockout stage of the World Cup on
The Swiss could
have qualified from Group H if they had
secured a two-goal victory against lowly Honduras but instead
the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
"We had great ambitions for this
match. It was too much of a
burden for (the players) and it got more during the game. We got
more nervous and failed to pass properly," said Hitzfeld, who
was gracious in defeat though clearly stunned.
"We had to get an early goal,
which we failed to do and we
kept on being nervous to the very end."
He drew some consolation from the
opening 1-0 victory
against pre-tournament favourites Spain.
"The win against Spain is a win
for eternity. That match is
there to stay in the memory of all fans. Everyone will remember
it for a long time," he said.
For the Central Americans, the result restored a measure of
pride to a campaign in which they lost twice and failed to score
"They knew what
this game meant for the nation. They really
showed their courage and brought everything they had," Honduran
coach Reinaldo Rueda said.
Both coaches shared a disappointment in the finishing
ability of their strikers in a game that featured plenty of
unfulfilled chances at both ends of the pitch.
"We lacked precision and we lacked
maturity for the final
strike and we did not get a goal unfortunately," Rueda said.
Hitzfeld said he was not happy
with his midfield or his
attackers. "We haven't lived up to our expectations. We need
more strikers," he said.
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