Hitzfeld: Switzerland have steadily improved

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld claimed his team have improved in every game at the FIFA World Cup ahead of their clash with Argentina.

Hitzfeld is set to retire after the World Cup but declared at a press conference on Monday that he does not expect the round of 16 encounter with Argentina to be his last.

Switzerland started their tournament with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Ecuador, before being thrashed 5-2 by France and defeating Honduras 3-0 to advance from Group E.

But despite the huge loss to France, Hitzfeld said his side have progressed each game and will be ready to take another step against Argentina in Sao Paulo.

"We have been increasing our level of performance in spite of getting some goals scored against us by France. Perhaps this has made us more alert to what's going on," the 65-year-old said.

"Against Honduras for instance, we liberated ourselves and that was also a confirmation that we're on the right path and we're moving correctly. Now it's a matter of increasing our level again.

"We can only come to grips with Argentina really if every player delivers an additional and we deliver a team performance. But I am confident and positive that we will succeed in doing this."

Hitzfeld said Switzerland can do enough to keep him in coaching for at least one more game after Tuesday's contest at Arena Corinthians.

"I'm certainly looking forward to this huge sporting challenge," the former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich coach said.

"And of course, with the Swiss national team, we talked together with the staff about how to go on and we have included the quarter-finals in our plans.

"So I don't think this is going to be my last match."

Switzerland will come up against arguably the best player in world football on Tuesday and Hitzfeld underlined the importance of a team performance to stop Argentina striker Lionel Messi, who has scored four goals in three games in Brazil.

"I think any defence will face problems when facing Messi and problems are there to be solved," Hitzfeld said.

"I trust my people. I trust my defence - not just the defence - but the entire team will have to perform and I am optimistic."


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