Swiss bank on defence to see them through

PORT ELIZABETH - In country as well known for its conservative nature as its cheese and watches it comes as no surprise that Swiss success at the World Cup has been based on rock steady defence and not attacking flair.

Unlocking the Swiss defence had been more difficult than gaining access to a Swiss bank account until Monday when Chile scored a contentious 1-0 victory to end Switzerland's World Cup record for not conceding a goal at 558 minutes.

Mark Gonzalez provided the key when he headed down a cross from Esteban Paredes past Diego Benaglio in the 75th minute to break open the deadlock.

It was an unfamiliar sight for cowbell clanging Swiss supporters, who had not watched a keeper retrieve a ball from the back of their net at a World Cup since 1994 in the United States when they surrender three to Spain in the round of 16.

Gonzalez's winner ended a run of defensive brilliance and dogged determination by the Alpiners, who posted four clean sheets at the 2006 World Cup, including second round loss on penalties to the Ukraine after both teams failed to score in 90 minutes.

Switzerland picked up in South Africa where they left off in Germany stunning Spain 1-0 in their Group H opener.

But even the sturdy Swiss defence could not hold off the attacking Chileans after they were forced to play the majority of the match with 10 man after Valon Behrami was sent off after 31 minutes.

"My team did fight very hard, every single player went out of his mind to fight, unfortunately we conceded the goal," Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld told reporters.

"After that we had to take more risks and then after that we realised just how strong Chile really is when we had to play forward.

"We still had our chances until the very last minute.

"A 1-1 draw would have been a perfect result for us and it would have been deserved as well with just 10 people against 11 for 60 minutes."

The Swiss are not known for taking chances, a characteristic that is often reflected on the pitch and well-respected by opponents.

Chilean coach Marcelo Bielsa knew exactly the problems the Swiss would and acknowledged that is plans to crack the Switzerland defence were aided by the sending off.

"What we had to do against Switzerland was overcome their tactics and be aware of the dangers of this defensive system," said Bielsa, after his team went top Group H with six points from two matches.

"I think that we were in possession of the ball most of the match.

"We indeed needed lots of opportunities to score one goal and had the advantage of playing with one player more.

"But the victory was deserved."

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