Coach confident Swiss can stop Argentina's Messi

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 30, 2014 at 4:55 pm •  Published: June 30, 2014
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SAO PAULO (AP) — Lionel Messi poses problems for every team, a fact Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld prefers to think of as an opportunity.

Messi has scored four of Argentina's six goals, steering his team to three group-stage wins.

But Hitzfeld, a two-time Champions League winner as a coach, struck a confident tone ahead of Switzerland's second-round World Cup match Tuesday, particularly regarding the player many consider to be the best player in the world.

"I think any defense will face problems when facing Messi and problems are there to be solved," he said. "I trust my people, I trust my defense ... How to stop Messi? We will show you tomorrow how we do it."

Under Hitzfeld, Switzlerand lost only once in 18 matches over the two years leading up to the World Cup and reached No. 6 in the FIFA rankings. That earned them top seeding in Group E.

A win over Argentina would equal Switzerland's greatest World Cup achievement, putting them in the quarterfinals for the first since it hosted the tournament in 1954.

Hitzfeld, a 65-year-old German who says he will retire following the World Cup, told reporters Monday: "I don't think it is going to be my last match."

"We, Swiss team, have become stronger over the last two years and I'm quite interested and looking forward to this sporting highlight that we will see tomorrow," he said.

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