Frei out for six weeks with knee injury
The Swiss captain has ruptured a knee but will stay with his team-mates to support them.9 June 2008
BASLE - Switzerland captain Alexander Frei is out for six weeks with a knee injury but will stay with his Euro 2008 team-mates to lend his support.
"Alex is our leader and he will remain our leader," said coach Koebi Kuhn on Sunday at the team quarters in Feusisberg.
Team doctor Cuno Wetzel confirmed that Frei, 29, ruptured a knee
ligament shortly before half-time of Switzerland's tournament opener with the Czech Republic in Basle which the Czechs went on to win 1-0.
Wetzel said that Frei will be out for six weeks but will not have to undergo an operation.
Frei was in tears after the injury. He returned on crutches to watch the second half of the match from the bench.
Kuhn named Frei "an important player" but said "we have to move forward" as Switzerland is in a must-win situation against Turkey and Portugal if it wants to survive the group stage of the tournament it hosts together with Austria.
Frei only returned to form shortly ahead of the Euro after months of injuries made him miss most of the Bundesliga season at his club Borussia Dortmund.
Frei underlined his importance only last week when he became Switzerland's best scorer with 35 international goals from a double against Liechtenstein in a Euro-tuneup match.
The unlucky defeat coupled with Frei's fate sent shock waves through the country.
"The whole of Switzerland cries with Frei," said the Sonntagszeitung paper, speaking of a "a sad start."
Le Matin spoke of "immense frustration" and insisted that "Switzerland didn't deserve this."
The Sonntag publication simply citied Murphy's Law in which "everything that can go wrong does go wrong".
[dpa / Expatica]