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Cyprus – Switzerland 23.03.2013


Cyprus – Switzerland 23.03.2013

Bottom-placed Cyprus may be eager to improve their position in the standings even if they have lost all chances to qualify, but getting something from this game could prove to be a very difficult task. Switzerland top Group E at the moment and they have a great advantage to increase their advantage at the top of the standings.

Interesting thing about Cypriot football is that while their clubs are making huge progress in European competitions, namely APOEL, Omonia and AEL Limassol, the national team continue to underperform and they remain one of the weakest sides in European Zone of the World Cup qualifiers. Not even the foreigners Dossa Junior, Sinisa Dobrasinovic and Vincent Laban, who now have a Cypriot passport, could help improve the quality of the team, which have lost 11 of last 13 fixtures in all competitions. While doing well to beat Iceland at home after losing to Albania at the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, Cyprus were defeated by Slovenia, before losing at home to average Norway side. Having since also lost friendly games to Finland and Serbia at home, I don’t see how their shocking record is going to improve against the strongest team in the group.

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Switzerland chiefs recognized the potential of the fresh batch of talent some few years ago and managed to convince one of world’s top coaches Ottmar Hitzfeld to take over the reigns, which proved to be a great decision. As a result, the team impressed at the 2010 World Cup, beating mighty Spain in the process, before they narrowly missed out on a place at the Euro 2012. Hitzfeld then rallied the troops for the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and following a bright start to the campaign, the Swiss are making giant strides to the tournament finals. After taking 10 points from first 4 games, they can now make a giant step towards the first place in the group by winning in Cyprus, and the visitors have every reason to feel optimistic ahead of the trip to Nicosia, having beaten Slovenia and Iceland away.

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