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Second-half surge helps Swiss past Iceland

Published: Tuesday 16 October 2012, 23.10CET
Iceland 0-2 Switzerland
Ottmar Hitzfeld's team maintained their unbeaten start to Group E as second-half goals sealed the victory in Reykjavik.
by Stefán Stefánsson
Second-half surge helps Swiss past Iceland
Mario Gavranović wheels away after his goal for Switzerland ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 16 October 2012, 23.10CET

Second-half surge helps Swiss past Iceland

Iceland 0-2 Switzerland
Ottmar Hitzfeld's team maintained their unbeaten start to Group E as second-half goals sealed the victory in Reykjavik.

Switzerland's undefeated start to their Group E campaign continued in Reykjavik as second-half goals from Tranquillo Barnetta and Mario Gavranović saw them past Iceland.

After being held at home by Norway on Friday, Ottmar Hitzfeld's men made it three wins from four outings to take control of the section, with decisive strikes in the 66th and 79th minutes finally breaking home resistance at the Laugardalsvöllur.

Despite the visitors looking to control possession, the hosts were sprightly in attack and goalkeeper Diego Benaglio needed to be on his toes to keep out efforts from Gylfi Sigurdsson, Alfred Finnbogason and Rúrik Gíslason before the break. The Swiss were not without their own threat yet were wayward with a number of efforts, Johan Djourou and Gökhan Inler both guilty of failing to test Hannes Halldórsson from good positions.

Switzerland turned up the intensity after the restart, and the Icelandic defence finally snapped when Barnetta cut inside from the left and curled an excellent shot into the corner. A brilliant save by Benaglio turned Finnbogason's goal-bound header over the bar to maintain the lead, and the points were secured when Gavranović was on hand at the back post to turn in after good work from captain Inler.

The result means Norway and Albania jump above Iceland into second and third places behind the pace-setting Swiss. Lars Lagerbäck's side face Slovenia next on 22 March, the day before Switzerland hope to prolong their excellent start away to bottom-of-the-table Cyprus.

Last updated: 08/05/14 7.06CET

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