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Opening salvoes see Croatia fire blanks

This is precisely what Sven-Goran Eriksson would have hoped for. A draw between two of England’s fellow group members and little sign that either side will be serious contenders. Croatia, in particular, ought to feel disappointed that they failed to make the most of the numerical advantage they held for almost the whole of the second half.

The stage seemed set for Croatia to secure victory when Switzerland’s Johann Vogel was dismissed shortly after the interval for a second booking. Otto Baric’s team had looked the better side up to that point. Yet Switzerland defended well, broke dangerously at times and deserved a point. Croatia’s lack of invention was shown up in the outcome.

It was difficult to guess that they had 0 celine bag 17610 3xvh 01bcx a man more than their opponents as the game wore on. They created few chances and were left to regret their failure to capitalise on two clear openings from set plays before the interval. It was fortunate for them that Switzerland were unable to make the most of two breaks. The Swiss celebrated with their fans at the end but must fear the worst. They had said before this game that they needed to win to stand a chance of progressing.

Vogel saw red having received a second yellow card for kicking the ball away after he had been cautioned early on for a foul. The referee’s notebook was a regular feature, with the Portuguese official & celine booking another seven players. Croatia felt they were denied two clear penalties – at least one was a dive – but also ought to be angry with themselves for their inability to punish Switzerland.

That refers to their wastefulness before the interval as well as what followed. Croatia had the better of a scrappy opening half, without achieving overwhelming dominance, and wasted chances as Switzerland defended $550 celine purple satin pumps shoes size 10 set-pieces poorly. It was a sign of their lack of ingenuity and summed up the fare on offer that their best opportunities $870 celine leather cream shoes 39 it 8us 5uk made in italy 7 came from 0 celine bag 17610 3xvh 01bcx dead-ball situations. It was a shame plenty of the multi-coloured seats in Leiria were empty but perhaps those that stayed away knew what was coming.

Lacking a playmaker from central midfield in the mould of Robert Prosinecki, Croatia tend to funnel their attacks out wide, $3400 celine nano luggage bag nwt dust bag where Ivica Olic and Portsmouth’s Ivica Mornar started. Olic got into several good positions on the left without making the most of the opportunities. His decision-making or delivery of a cross was often below par and he was withdrawn at half-time.

With Mornar making little headway down the other flank, Dado Prso largely anonymous and his strike partner Tomo Sokota twice wayward with shots, it was from set plays that Croatia’s best moments arrived.

Niko Kovac headed over from a Nenad Bjelica corner and Croatia ought to have scored shortly from a free-kick taken by the same player after which Switzerland’s attempts to play offside failed miserably. Josip Simunic allowed Jorg Stiel to save his free header and Olic put the rebound over via the bar.

Switzerland had only one sustained spell of pressure. Two of their midfielders, Vogel and Raphael Wicky, were getting through decent graft and Vogel was tending to use the ball sensibly. But Hakan Yakin, the forward to whom they generally look for inspiration, was catching the eye only sporadically.

He has barely played $3k bnwt celine peachy tuxedo 2010 resort collection sz 38 since January for his club, Stuttgart, and that was surely an influence in his subdued showing. His most notable contribution was a corner from which Bernt Haas failed to make contact with a clear sight of goal.

Otherwise Switzerland’s efforts brought only one real opportunity when a Simunic mistake allowed Alexander $2700 authentic celine trapeze tricolor small black green cream luggage tote bag Frei a shot which Tomislav Butina saved. Frei and the experienced Stéphane Chapuisat were generally subdued in attack.

It was little surprise that Chapuisat departed early in the second half, though that was largely because Switzerland chose to play with only one striker after going down to 10 men. Croatia failed to seize control and wasted the couple of chances they made, Sokota $950 new celine us 10 eu 40 dress black satin high heels classic pumps shoes box again let down by his shooting and Niko Kovac putting an effort wide.

Stiel provided entertainment by stopping the ball near the line with his head after almost being caught out and Switzerland, by no means pinned in their own half, might twice have scored on the break. Benjamin Huggel saw a shot bounce wide off $1900 celine drape front cap sleeve wrap crepe tunic blouse mini dress 36 Butina and Hakan Yakin had an effort blocked. England will hope the Swiss 10 men expended plenty of energy in the heat.

Switzerland (4-3-1-2): Stiel 6 ; Haas 7 , Müller 6, M Yakin 7 , Spycher 6 ; Huggel 6 , Vogel 6 , Wicky 7 ; H Yakin 5 ; Frei 6 , Chapuisat 4 . Booked: Vogel, Huggel, Stiel; Sent off: Vogel

Croatia (4-4-2): Butina 5 ; Simic 6 , R Kovac 7 , Simunic 6 , Zivkovic 6 ; Mornar 4 , N Kovac 6 , Bjelica 6 , Olic 5 ; Sokota 4 celine handbags 60, Prso 5 . Booked: Prso, Bjelica, Rapaic, Zivkovic, Mornar.

Att: 25,000. Referee: Batista (Por) 5 Man of the match: Wicky (Switzerland)

Substitutions: Switzerland: Celestini (Chapsuisat, 55) midfielder for striker after sending off; Henchoz (Wicky, 83) to left back, Spycher into midfield; Gygax (H Yakin, 86) like for like. Croatia: Rapaic (Olic, 45) like for like; Srna (Simic, 61) like for like; Rosso (Bjelica, 73) like for like.

Switzerland Croatia

46% Possession 54%

4 Shots on target 7

5 Shots off target 9

4 Corners 9

21 Fouls conceded 15

70% Pass completion 80%

3 Offside 3

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