By Brian Homewood
LUCERNE, Switzerland, May 30 (Reuters) - Switzerland substitute Josip Drmic atoned for an astonishing miss by scoring a late goal to give the World Cup qualifiers a 1-0 victory over battling Jamaica in a friendly on Friday.
Drmic missed an open goal from two metres but made amends in the 84th minute when he ran on to Blerim Dzemaili’s pass, cut inside his marker and fired past goalkeeper Andre Blake.
The Swiss struggled to create chances against physical, well-organised opponents with a performance which does not auger well for next month’s World Cup where they face equally rugged Honduras and tricky Ecuador in much more difficult conditions.
They were also frustrated by Blake who made several outstanding saves.
“I‘m happy we faced opponents who play like Honduras and a little like Ecuador, we know what awaits us,” Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld told reporters. The Swiss must also play France in Group E at the World Cup.
“We were patient although we lacked a little bit of precision and we will work on that. We must be attentive and not open up too much.”
Switzerland were largely restricted to long-range shots in the first half including two from Admir Mehmedi which whizzed past the woodwork from 25 metres.
Haris Seferovic was also close from long range while Blake reacted brilliantly after Jamaica defender Adrian Mariappa deflected Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross towards goal.
Jamaica, with nine of their starting lineup based in England or the United States, occasionally looked dangerous as they broke forward.
The Swiss should have gone ahead in the 65th minute when Reto Ziegler’s low cross found Drmic unmarked at the far post but he somehow scooped the ball over the unguarded net.
Blake then made another reaction save to deny Drmic from close range and dived at Lichtsteiner’s feet to block the rebound, before finally being beaten with six minutes left.
The Swiss host Peru in another friendly on Tuesday. (Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)