ROME (Reuters) - Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic and captain Granit Xhaka made no excuses for their performance against Italy after they were thoroughly outplayed on Wednesday and now face a must-win game against Turkey in their last Group A match.
The Swiss were swept aside by their southern neighbours in a 3-0 thumping and held up their hands after looking second best for most of the match.
“We played a strong team, they caused us a lot of problems. We were insecure, which is usually not our character,” said a thunderous-looking Petkovic at the post-match news conference.
“We are disappointed in terms of what we showed on the pitch. I’ve already talked to the players and told them we must be disappointed tonight, but from tomorrow we need to be positive for our decisive game against Turkey if we are to make it through to the round of 16.”
Wednesday’s defeat in Rome leaves Switzerland with only one point from their opening two fixtures and in order to have any chance of advancing, they will need to beat Turkey in Baku on Sunday.
“We want to remain positive despite the well-deserved defeat. With a win against Turkey, we still have a good chance of qualifying,” added captain Xhaka.
“We had big plans for this match against Italy. But we lost the duels and lost too many easy balls. We weren't close enough to our opponents. We have to play more aggressively and be more compact.
“If you give the Italians as much room as we did, then you are always going to be running after your opponent. And when you give up possession as much as we did, you never find tranquillity in your game. We didn't have enough players who wanted the ball,” the midfielder added.
“We can talk a lot now, but the reality is that we lost. We don't have to point the finger at each other, but rather look together to see what we can improve."
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)