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Heartache and pride as Swiss Euros dream dies

Heartache and pride as Swiss Euros dream dies

GENEVA, (AFP/APP): Switzerland’s President Viola Amherd voiced pride in the country’s football team after they were agonisingly knocked out of Euro 2024 on penalties in the quarter-finals by England on Saturday.

It was the second time in a row that Switzerland had gone out on penalties in the last eight — the furthest they have ever gone in the tournament — having succumbed to Spain from the penalty spot in Euro 2020.

This time they drew 1-1 with England, having taken the lead in the 75th minute only to be pegged back five minutes later — before losing 5-3 on penalties after extra time in Dusseldorf.

“I congratulate the Swiss team on a great, passionate and outstanding tournament performance! It was a pleasure to watch the team in the stadium. You made us proud,” Amherd, also the sports minister, said on the social media platform X.

“Congratulations to the English team,” she added.

Switzerland made the World Cup quarter-finals in 1934, 1938 and 1954, and some thought this year was their chance to go one better in a major tournament, having knocked out Euro 2020 defending champions Italy in the round of 16.

Supporters headed to fan zones around the country despite some torrential downpours.

A few thousand fans braved the heavy rain to watch the match in the fan zone on the Plainpalais square in Geneva.

Gathered under umbrellas under leaden skies, Swiss fans hugged at the end before trudging off to find shelter, while a few pockets of England supporters bounced around chanting “Football’s coming home”.

The Tages-Anzeiger newspaper said there was “gloom” on Zurich’s lively Langstrasse, known for its nightlife.

Instead, “where a win would have seen a huge party, the rain mixes with the tears of supporters”, the broadsheet said.

“The weather in Zurich matches the gloomy mood after the game. Collective disappointment that can also be seen and felt on Langstrasse,” said the daily.

“There, where the city would have celebrated all night long if they had won.

“But the flags are not being waved; they are dragging on the ground. People are not hugging each other; many are going home straight away. At most, they toast each other wordlessly, to their frustration.”

Other newspapers raked over the result.

“Switzerland fails again in the penalty shoot-out,” lamented the Neue Zurcher Zeitung.

“It is a poor reward for a brave performance.”

Blick said: “England destroys our European Championship dream. Brutal knockout for the Nati. This can’t be true.”

“Awesome but defeated,” said the Tribune de Geneve.

“Between the 75th and 80th minutes on Saturday, the Nati were virtually qualified for the semi-finals. This page of history will have to wait.”

Meanwhile Le Temps put it simply: “A dream has passed”.

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