June 28, 2018 / 8:14 AM / 21 days ago

Swiss suffer double suspension blow but coach has no selection regrets

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (Reuters) - Switzerland will be without Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schar in next week’s World Cup knockout match against Sweden after being booked against Costa Rica but coach Vladimir Petkovic has no regrets about having fielded them in their last group match.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group E - Serbia vs Switzerland - Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia - June 22, 2018 Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner, Yann Sommer and Fabian Schar line up during the national anthems before the match REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Swiss captain Lichtsteiner and his defensive partner Schar both collected a second caution of the tournament in the 2-2 draw at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium and miss Tuesday’s match in St Petersburg in a blow to Swiss hopes.

“We were not sure of the scenario we needed to qualify so I wanted to field my best players and make sure that all of them play. The round of 16 was the minimum objective that we set ourselves to achieve,” Petkovic said, explaining why he fielded players already sitting on one yellow card in a game against a team already eliminated from the tournament.

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“They were fouls committed way away from our defensive area which is unfortunate but then we have 23 players in our squad and I’m happy to trust the remaining players.

“I’m sure all of the players we field in the future will give 120 per cent and I think the team can cope. It’s too bad for those two guys but it’s too late to lament that now.”

Wednesday’s draw meant Switzerland finished second in Group E, behind Brazil, but avoided playing Mexico next and looked pleased to be up against Sweden instead.

But in order to win, Petkovic warned his side would have to vastly improve on Wednesday’s lacklustre showing against Costa Rica.

“First of all we have to perform better, like we did in our first two matches. We are quite ambitious, we want more and more as we move along and it is very important to show that also and I have no doubt at all that we can perform better against Sweden,” he added.

Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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