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Switzerland seal World Cup spot

Switzerland 0-0 Israel
Ottmar Hitzfeld admitted to late nerves as the Nati claimed the point they needed to qualify for their fourth major finals in a row.

Tranquillo Barnetta (centre) leads the celebrations for Switzerland
Tranquillo Barnetta (centre) leads the celebrations for Switzerland ©Getty Images

Switzerland will compete at a fourth consecutive major final tournament for the first time after securing the point they needed against Israel to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Finals berth
Three points clear of Greece going into the final matches in Group 2, Switzerland knew a draw would book their ticket to South Africa, and they achieved that with relative comfort. It left Ottmar Hitzfeld looking forward to a "new experience for me as a coach", but things had not gone to plan before the game as all-time top scorer Alexander Frei, Diego Benaglio and Benjamin Huggel were all ruled out through illness.

Barnetto close
Switzerland attacked from the start but Israel, who still had a slight mathematical chance of making the play-offs with victory, defended stoutly. Philippe Senderos headed wide from a corner, then Tranquillo Barnetta's free-kick just missed by a matter of centimetres as set-pieces looked the home side's best route to goal.

There was no need for Switzerland to take a lot of risks after half-time, although they remained the more adventurous team as the match progressed. Eren Derdiyok had 38,000 rising from their seats on the hour, but his header bounced past the post. Hitzfeld admitted that the last ten minutes were "nerve-wracking", though on the final whistle the Swiss faithful at Basel's St. Jakob-Park saluted their side's success, while Israel ended the group in fourth place. The last word was Hitzfeld's: "I grew up ten minutes away from this stadium and a success like this feels great."