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Resilient Switzerland secure semi-final spot

Russia 0-0 Switzerland
A goalless draw in Cervia was enough for Switzerland to reach the last four – where they will face Germany – for the second time in three years.

Switzerland's Michelle Probst attempts to keep possession from Snezhana Kobeleva of Russia
Switzerland's Michelle Probst attempts to keep possession from Snezhana Kobeleva of Russia ©UEFA.com

Switzerland reached the 2011 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship semi-finals for the second time in three years after a goalless draw with Russia, whose involvement in the competition is now over.

Requiring a win to avoid elimination, Aleksandr Shagov's charges began strongly, threatening chiefly from long balls and free-kicks, one of which – a fierce effort by Tatiana Ananyeva – had to be punched clear by the impressive Pascale Küffer. After six minutes Kristina Mashkova's inviting left-wing cross was touched over the crossbar by Anna Cholovyaga.

Another chance fell to Cholovyaga midway through the half, when she controlled Ilona Vlasenko's right-wing cross, but again the 19-year-old fired over. Despite these opportunities it was Switzerland who made most of the running, Michelle Probst and Lia Wälti making light of an injury to captain Chantal Fimian, carried off after 14 minutes on a stretcher, with some excellent midfield interplay.

On 24 minutes Probst threaded a fine through ball to Cinzia Jörg, whose long-range shot was too central to trouble Margarita Shirokova,. The midfielder soon improved her aim, though, letting fly from 30 metres with a looping effort that beat the Russia No1, but came back off the bar.

With Yannick Schwery's side – spurred on by the cow-bell ringing travelling fans – dominating possession, Cholovyaga tried to drop deeper to receive the ball, but still the Swiss advanced, Wälti coming close with a fierce shot from distance. Russia, meanwhile, also lost a skipper, Ananyeva, to injury.

Although the floodlights came on in the uncharacteristically gloomy conditions, Russia could still find no way past. The resolute Küffer made a succession of saves to deny Cholovyaga, after she was played in by a delightful Karina Blynskaya pass, then Valentina Orlova, who rose highest to head another corner goalwards.

Not even two Ksenia Veselukha's long shots – the last an added-time piledriver – could catch out the 18-year-old, who had done enough to secure her side's passage through to Wednesday's semi-final against Germany.