sport

Hitzfeld laments 'black day'

Ottmar Hitzfeld admits Switzerland were undone by a French explosion after watching his side slump to a 5-2 reverse at the World Cup on Friday.

A rampant France side raced to a three-goal half-time lead courtesy of strikes from Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi and Mathieu Valbuena, although it could have been worse after Johan Djourou tripped Karim Benzema to give France a penalty.

The Real Madrid striker was denied by Diego Benaglio, but did go on to score France's fourth goal after the break before a fifth came from Moussa Sissoko as Switzerland were thoroughly exposed.

Refusing to lay down, Hitzfeld's side hit back with a Blerim Dzemali free-kick and a neatly-taken goal from Granit Xahaka, though it was mere consolation for a Swiss side well beaten on the night.

"It was a black day for the Swiss team," Hitzfeld told reporters at his post-match press conference.

"The two goals after a good first quarter of an hour killed us.

"We did not play to the level that we should have today. At 2-0, it became very hard for us, the French then logically exploited our mistakes to bring on more danger."

After entering the break three goals down, Hitzfeld admits Switzerland were desperate for an early response and although it came too late, the German coach remains optimistic.

"France had an explosion in their performance," Hitzfeld said.

"It's important that the team sticks together and doesn't start blaming anyone or let their heads hang. That's why it was enormously important that we reacted in the second half.

"With the two goals we're still full of hope that we can make it to the next round."

Both sides entered the second round of fixtures on the back of victories, meaning the Arena Fonte Nova clash was billed as a top-of-the-table clash, although Switzerland were truly outclassed by a potent French attack.

Despite the reverse, Switzerland remain second in Group E with a final match against Honduras on Wednesday set to decide their fate as the race for a place in the Round of 16 reaches a final juncture.

"Qualification is still within our reach, the team still had the merits because of the way we finished the game. Both goals from Dzemaili and Xhaka demonstrate that we are still alive in the competition," he claimed.

"I want to say emphatically that qualification for the knockout stages is still within our reach. We have our destiny in our hands, we will analyse this match and bounce back - we lose together but we win together."