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  Results & Reviews: Match 03


The outsiders
Croatia and Switzerland draw 0-0 in Euro 2004 Group B duel

Croatia missed three easy chances and squandered a man advantage for almost half the game as Switzerland survived for a 0-0 tie in their Euro 2004 Group B game on Sunday.

Niko Kovac, Josip Simunic and Ivica Olic all missed easy headers with Swiss 'keeper Joerg Stiel making an acrobatic one-handed save in the game. Olic hit the crossbar from barely three meters (yards).

The Swiss played the last 40 minutes with 10 men after the ejection of defender Johann Vogel for his second yellow card, but the Croatians failed to create any more dangers for Stiel in a poor quality game at the Dr. Magalhaes Pessoa Stadium.

"We could have done better," Croatian coach Otto Baric said. "We had a couple of chances which we should have converted. The Swiss are a good team."
« Summary »

Group B 13 June 2004 1700 CET

Dr. Magalhães Pessoa, Leiria Attendance 24,090


Switzerland (4-4-2) Stiel; Spycher, Mueller, M.Yakin, Haas; Wicky (Henchoz 83), H.Yakin (Gygax 86), Vogel, Huggel; Chapuisat (Celestini 54), Frei.
Croatia (4-4-2) Butina; Simic (Srna 61), R.Kovac, Simunic, Zivkovic; Mornar, N.Kovac, Bjelica (Rosso 74); Olic (Rapaic 46), Sokota, Prso.
Referee Lucilio Batista (POR)

Two Croatians, Dado Prso and Ivica Molnar, were cautioned for diving as little went right for Otto Baric's team, which is in the same group as defending champion France and England. They played later in Lisbon.

The Swiss created the best chance of the opening 20 minutes when Alex Frei slipped free of Josip Simunic and fired a low shot from just inside the area. Croatian 'keeper Tomislav Butina failed to hold it but a defender cleared as Stephane Chapuisat threatened to pounce on the rebound.

The Swiss came close again in the 25th minute when Hakan Yakin curled an inswinging corner into the danger area and Bernd Haas launched himself through a crowded area but glanced his header wide off the far post.

The Croatians should have gone ahead 10 minutes before halftime when Niko Kovac was left unmarked by the Swiss defense. He jumped to reach a leftwing corner only to head over the bar with Stiel well off his line.

There was another blunder by the Swiss when Haas played five Croatians offside and a free kick should also have led to a goal.

Suminic was allowed a free header but it was brilliantly blocked by Stiel. From the rebound, Olic also had a great chance to head home but he hit the crossbar.

The Swiss were down to 10 men just five minutes into the second half when Vogel kicked Tomo Sokota from behind and was ejected for his second yellow card.

Swiss coach Jakob Kuhn said that considering the Croatian advantage over most of the second half, the result is "satisfactory."

"Now, we have to do well against France and England, and that won't be easy," Kuhn said.

Mornar became the second Croatian to be cautioned for diving before he set up another chance for the Croatians.

He broke clear down the right and his cross found Niko Kovac, but the Hertha Berlin midfielder completely misdirected his first time shot, which flew well wide from 16 meters (yards).

Stiel had to race back when a back pass dropped over his head 20 minutes from the end but he managed to stop the ball from crossing the line.

The Swiss then almost snatched the lead 13 minutes from the end when Benjamin Huggel fired a 30-meter (yard) shot that 'keeper Butina pushed around the post with an unorthodox two-handed push.
- AP



 « Group Standings »

Group B

P W D L F A Pt
Switzerland 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
Croatia 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
France 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


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 « Match Stats »

0 Goals 0
0 Halftime 0
4 Corners 9
3 Offsides 4
21 Fouls 19
4 Yellow cards 5
1 Red cards 0
23 Free kicks 24
6 Shots on target 9
3 Shots off target 9
0 Woodwork 2
7 Saves 4
0 GL Clearances 0
45% Possession 55%



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