Hitzfeld off to winning start with Switzerland

21st August 2008, Comments 0 comments

The new Swiss coach led the team to a 4-1 victory over Cyprus on Wednesday, setting them on the right path to qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

21 August 2008

GENEVA -- Ottmar Hitzfeld enjoyed a winning start as Switzerland coach with a 4-1 victory over Cyprus behind goals from two newcomers on Wednesday.

Basel midfielder Valentin Stocker scored with a header eight minutes into his first international appearance to give the Swiss the lead. Hakan Yakin then made it 2-0 on a header in the 27th minute, his fourth goal in his last three matches for Switzerland.

Constantinos Makrides gave the visitors hope in the 35th, slotting the ball into an open net on a pass from Dimitris Christofi.

Alain Nef also scored on his international debut, making it 3-1 in the 72nd by chesting in a cross from Almen Abdiwere.

Johan Vonlanthen put the game out of reach with a late goal after coming on for the 19-year-old Stocker, who was given a standing ovation when being substituted.

Hitzfeld, a Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, took over as Switzerland's coach from Koebi Kuhn after the country's disappointing European Championship. The tournament co-host lost its first two matches to be the first team eliminated, but scored a victory over Portugal in its final match.

Hitzfeld is trying to guide Switzerland to its fourth straight major tournament by qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa

[AP / Expatica]

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