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Kuhn overcome as players say goodbye

Outgoing Switzerland coach Köbi Kuhn was "touched" by the show of gratitude his players made at the final whistle by unfurling a banner which said: "Merci Köbi".

The banner says it all: 'Merci Köbi'
The banner says it all: 'Merci Köbi' ©Witmer

Köbi Kuhn was "touched" by the show of gratitude his players made when they unfurled a banner saying "Merci Köbi" after the 2-0 defeat of Portugal that signalled the end of his seven-year spell as Switzerland coach. His mood contrasted with that of counterpart Luiz Felipe Scolari who said he had "made a mistake" not replacing all eleven players in his side, rather than eight, for this Group A finale. Fernando Meira, Miguel, Paulo Ferreira and Jorge Ribeiro were all booked, leaving Scolari concerned about the impact that might have in the knockout phase.

Köbi Kuhn, Switzerland coach
Of course I am extremely pleased [with the win] but there is also nostalgia because in the first two matches we deserved at least one point and, the way it looks now, we might have qualified for the quarter-finals. We are out but the team were able to make a gift to the fans who have always believed in them. We were excellent and I think this team will remain in their hearts. I didn't know anything about the banner but was touched to receive this expression of gratitude. During my time in charge we have been through some dire straits but, all in all, it has been a wonderful period. The legacy that [new coach] Ottmar Hitzfeld will find is a respectable one. We have a very young team but also some experienced players. There is room for improvement and once they have more experience, they will be even better. I wish Hitzfeld all the best. Now I will just be a fan of Switzerland and I would like to receive the kind of gift the players gave to the crowd tonight.

Luiz Felipe Scolari, Portugal
I was making a calculation [about the changes from the Czech Republic game] and wanted to see who had played most during the season and who had been injured. I was trying to help the players. We played as I expected and had a few opportunities but we didn't get the goal we wanted. Later we will see the consequences [of my selection]. I should have replaced eleven players rather than eight. We ran too many risks by putting in three or four players who had played in the previous games. In the next phase [bookings] carry on – only at the semi-finals do they get taken away – so we are taking chances now and I didn't need to do that. I told my players not to complain, not to make any mistakes, because they would get cautions. I made a mistake because I should have substituted all eleven players. I didn't change the tactics though. We had a striker [Hélder Postiga] who played more or less like Nuno Gomes. What we didn't have was a midfielder like Deco. But even with all the changes, we played fairly well and created a few opportunities, though we didn't take them. We could have gone to 4-4-2 but we decided to stick to the basics.