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Alexander Frei looks ahead after latest injury blow

10 June 2008

FEUSISBERG – Alexander Frei has dried the tears he cried in the last nights and even found back his humour for a moment.

"Don’t be afraid, Koebi Kuhn will remain coach of the team," the Switzerland striker quipped at a news conference in reference to his decision to stay with the team at Euro 2008 although the tournament is over for him due to a knee injury.

"I will stay to help and to give some advice. But I won’t overdo my role. It is not important that I am no longer available, all that counts is that we beat Turkey on Wednesday and win three points."

"A dream has ended for me, but the whole nation and the team has a dream which lives on," he insisted.

Frei tried to keep his composure at the news conference at the Swiss Euro quarters but his look did sometimes reveal how badly his misfortune hurt.

Frei’s Euro adventure ended tragically in the tournament opener on Saturday when he ruptured a knee ligament shortly before halftime of the 1-0 defeat against the Czech Republic after a tackle from Zdenek Grygera.

The injury-plagued Frei, 29, readily admitted that he know from the outset that the tournament was over for him when he limped off the pitch in tears amid a shocked co-host nation.

"Unfortunately I know my body. I knew immediately that it was over. I woke up and fell asleep to this scene. I cried many tears over the past 48 hours," he revealed.

Frei thanked his family and friends for their support, which also came from his German club Borussia Dortmund.

The injury is a massive blow for Frei and Switzerland as the team captain is the leading scorer in Swiss national team history with 35 goals and his presence was considered crucial to survive the group stage.

"The 42 minutes against the Czechs were not bad. Maybe they were even the best in my national team career," he said.

Frei had only returned to form shortly ahead of the tournament from an eight-month absence due to various ailments – and he is determined to fight again for a comeback after being ruled out for six weeks in the latest mishap.

"I don’t blame anyone, not Grygera and not myself. It was unfortunate. Now I will try to see the positive side. A few millimetres more and I would have been out of action for six months," he said.

"I haven’t gotten over it, but I am trying to look ahead. You can remain on the ground or you can stand up and fight. Champions stand up again."

[dpa / Expatica]