Sao Paulo, July 1 IANS | 22 days ago

Switzerland's coach Ottmar Hitzfeld anticipated Argentine star Lionel Messi would cause great trouble to his team but he also believed his defenders could find a way to "solve the problem".


"Actually, any defence can have problems when facing Messi. But all problems are there to be solved. I trust my defenders as well as all my other players," said Hitzfeld during a pre-match news conference here Monday, one day prior to the round of 16 clash between Argentina and Switzerland, reports Xinhua.

Switzerland is known for their stable performance at back, conceding only six goals in ten matches to finish on top of their qualifying group.

But in Brazil the Swiss defending line have not been performing well, conceding six goals in three matches en route to finish second in Group E including a 2-5 defeat to France.

"Our performance has improved since we arrived in Brazil. The five goals to France woke us. It was like a wakeup call and helped us recover in the match against Honduras," said the 65-year-old German.

"Argentina are two-time world champions. Play against Argentina is a huge challenge, which have to be well prepared. You can feel the tension in the players. This is something really fantastic to be able to face Argentina. We look forward to this game."

Hitzfeld took over as coach of the Swiss national team in summer 2008.

Switzerland finished top of its qualifying group to reach the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, where they were eliminated after the group stage. It is the first time for Hitzfeld to guide a team into the knockout rounds in World Cup.

"For me it is a great time to be able to participate in the first eighth-finals. This is already a dream come true. And it will be a great moment in my career. This is also the time for the Swiss football to write a page of history," Hitzfeld said.

Switzerland have contested in nine FIFA World Cup finals before and reached the last eight three times.

But their most recent appearance at the quarterfinal round came almost 50 years ago, at the 1954 finals on home soil

(Posted on 01-07-2014)