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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ukraine oust Swiss on penalties

Ukraine oust Swiss on penalties

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Last updated on: June 27, 2006 04:51 IST

Ukraine beat Switzerland 3-0 on penalties to reach the World Cup quarter-finals in Cologne on Monday after the teams played out a sterile scoreless draw.

Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko missed the first penalty but the Swiss failed to convert their three spot kicks before Oleg Gusev put Ukraine into the last eight with the clinching penalty.

It was the first time a team had failed to score in a penalty shootout at the World Cup.

Ukraine, playing at their first finals, now meet Italy in the quarter-finals in Hamburg on Friday.

Ukraine goalkeeper Oleksander Shovkovsky was the hero in the shootout, saving penalties from Marco Streller and Ricardo Cabanas, while Tranquillo Barnetta hit his shot against the bar.

Ukraine were not put off by captain Shevchenko's failure as Artem Milevsky and Serhiy Rebrov converted before Gusev finished the Swiss off sparking wild celebrations among his team mates.

NERVOUS COACH

Coach Oleg Blokhin was too nervous to watch the penalties.

"After extra time I just told my team you have to settle this amongst yourself who is going to take the penalties."

"I withdrew to the dressing room. I couldn't take it anymore," he told reporters. "The teams were very equal. We just had more luck like Russian roulette," added Blokhin.

Switzerland go out of the competition without having conceded a goal in regular play but that is little consolation for coach Koebi Kuhn.

"All three [who missed] picked the other corner in training," he said. "I actually had a good feeling after Shevchenko missed the first one but nothing came out of that. What a pity.

"It's really a disappointment and hard to draw an overall conclusion about how we've done at this point. We're going home but we've learned a lot. We'll have to wait for the next task."

Switzerland now have time to rebuild since they do not have to qualify for the next major tournament because they are co-hosting the 2008 European Championship with Austria.

WOODWORK HIT

The game was a desperately dull affair, with neither side prepared to risk throwing many men forward.

Both teams came close to breaking the tedium in the first half with shots that struck the woodwork.

Ukraine captain and top scorer Shevchenko was first up, heading down a 21st minute Maxim Kalinichenko free kick, only to see the ball bounce up and off the bar. It would have been the first goal conceded by Switzerland in this World Cup.

Three minutes later Swiss top scorer Alex Frei hit a 25-metre free kick against the top of Oleksander Shovkovsky's post, with midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta failing to turn in the rebound.

The second half was even more sterile with neither keeper tested and neither side prepared to gamble anything. Penalties had seemed inevitable long before the end of the 120 minutes.

Source:
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