Striker Streller to quit international football after Euro 2008
2 June 2008
GENEVA – Switzerland striker Marco Streller will retire from the national team after the European Championship.
The 26-year-old FC Basel player announced his decision a day after fans booed him off the pitch during Switzerland’s 3-0 friendly victory over Liechtenstein.
“I like playing for my country, but at some point it is enough. I’ve heard that (booing) long enough,” Streller told Swiss television on Saturday.
He said he was “definitely retiring after the European Championship’.’
Streller has had a difficult relationship with Swiss fans since missing a penalty against Ukraine in the World Cup two years ago, contributing to Switzerland’s elimination. He has also been targeted because he plays for Basel, the country’s richest club team.
Streller has scored 11 goals in 28 international matches, but has often been injured. The 1.97-metre forward was whistled throughout Friday night’s match and was booed when replaced in the 59th minute by Hakan Yakin.
The announcement has cast a shadow over coach Koebi Kuhn’s preparations for Euro 2008, which Switzerland is co-hosting with Austria. The Swiss appeared to have been riding a positive wave, winning consecutive friendlies to break a four-match losing streak and defender Patrick Mueller returned after a lengthy injury.
“It is not right that Marco is being jeered,” Kuhn said. “Here he is a player for the national team, and not for Basel.”
Kuhn, who is stepping down as coach after the tournament, said he hoped Streller would reconsider.
“I don’t see it yet as a decision, rather as having thought out loud,” Kuhn said.
Switzerland starts Euro 2008 on Saturday against the Czech Republic in Group A.
[AP / Expatica]