SAO PAULO (AP) — Switzerland's 1-0 loss to Argentina Tuesday was likely the last game of coach Ottmar Hitzfeld's long career and capped an emotional 24 hours for the German-born coach following the death of his older brother.
Prior to the game, team spokesman Marco von Ah said Hitzfeld was "very sad" but was determined to stay with the team for its crucial game against the two-time world champions, which it lost after a goal in the 118th minute.
The team said 81-year-old Winfried Hitzfeld died in Switzerland after a long battle with blood cancer. It provided no other details.
"He wants to look forward. He wants everybody to do so and respect his private sphere," said von Ah.
Under Hitzfeld, Switzerland lost only once in 18 matches over the two years leading up to the World Cup and reached No. 6 in the FIFA rankings.
A win over Argentina would have equaled Switzerland's greatest World Cup achievement, putting them in the quarterfinals for the first since it hosted the tournament in 1954.
The 65-year-old Hitzfeld had said previously he would retire after the tournament. Prior to his postgame press conference, a Swiss official asked reporters not to ask the coach about his late brother saying he would like his privacy to be respected.