Switzerland's hopes of reaching the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ play-offs were dashed after Germany ensured they completed qualifying for the finals in Finland with a perfect record.
A draw in front of 3,000 fans at Basel's Schützenmatte Stadium would have been enough to earn Switzerland a two-legged tie next month. But Germany last failed to win a match in this competition nine years ago and goals from Kerstin Garefrekes, Melanie Behringer and Sandra Smisek – on the occasion of her international retirement – sent the holders into the 18 November finals draw in high spirits. Switzerland ended Group 4 behind Germany and the Netherlands but will not finish as one of the four best third-placed teams, pipped by the Czech Republic, Scotland, Slovenia and the Republic of Ireland.
Germany were in command from the start with Behringer and Anja Mittag going close in the first seven minutes. The breakthrough came on 20 minutes when Smisek – winning her 133rd and final cap after 13 years in the squad – broke through on the right and cut back for 1. FFC Frankfurt team-mate Garefrekes to strike. Switzerland were restricted to long-range efforts and in the 33rd minute were two behind when Behringer scored from 25 metres out. Smisek was keen on a goal of her own and threatened twice late in the half.
Smisek's happy ending
The home side tried to up the ante after the interval and were able to take the game to Germany, who were restricted in their own chances. But as time ran out substitute Isabell Bachor went mightly close and with 13 minutes left Smisek finally claimed her 34th international goal with a lob following a Lena Gössling cross. Smisek was then substituted but her team-mates can now concentrate on the finals from 23 August-10 September 2009, where they will aim for a fifth straight title.