Emotional end to Swiss coach Hitzfeld's career

Last updated 16:30 02/07/2014
Ottmar Hitzfeld
Reuters
BOWING OUT: Ottmar Hitzfeld is expected to retire after Switzerland's 1-0 loss to Argentina knocked his side out of the World Cup.

Relevant offers

Football

Riots in the stands, streets, mar AS Roma win Bayern Munich score last-gasp win over Manchester City Barcelona FC solid but unspectacular in opener Chelsea forced to settle for draw with Schalke 04 Athletic Bilbao held to draw by Shakhtar Donetsk Paris St Germain waste chances, draw with Ajax Porto crush blunder-prone BATE Borisov Maribor rescue 1-1 draw against Sporting English FA moving to restrict foreign players English FA boss supports football video replays

Switzerland's 1-0 loss to Argentina today was likely the last game of coach Ottmar Hitzfeld's long career and capped an emotional 24 hours for the German-born coach following the death of his older brother.

Prior to the game, team spokesman Marco von Ah said Hitzfeld was ''very sad'' but was determined to stay with the team for their crucial game against the two-time world champions, which they lost after a goal in the 118th minute.

The team said 81-year-old Winfried Hitzfeld died in Switzerland after a long battle with blood cancer. No other details were provided.

''He wants to look forward. He wants everybody to do so and respect his private sphere,'' said von Ah.

Under Hitzfeld, Switzerland lost only once in 18 matches over the two years leading up to the World Cup and reached No 6 in the FIFA rankings.

A win over Argentina would have equaled Switzerland's greatest World Cup achievement, putting them in the quarterfinals for the first since they hosted the tournament in 1954.
The 65-year-old Hitzfeld had said previously he would retire after the tournament. Prior to his postgame press conference, a Swiss official asked reporters not to ask the coach about his late brother saying he would like his privacy to be respected.

Several of his players, though, offered condolences after their emotional loss to Argentina.

''For him, it must be very difficult right now. What I can say is that he showed true leadership because it would have been hard for him this morning but he concentrated on the game,'' said Swiss defender Johan Djourou. ''He can be very proud of what he achieved with the national team.''

Midfielder Gelson Fernandes said the coach did not mention his brother in the changing room but all the players were aware of the situation and fought extra hard to get Hitzfeld the win.

''He stayed strong. He gave us confidence and he was really, really strong,'' he said. ''I am of course sad for his family and I wish him all the best in the future because he is not just a great manager, he is a great man.''

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who will win this year's Champions League?

Ajax

Anderlecht

APOEL

Arsenal

Athletic Bilbao

Atletico Madrid

Barcelona

Basel

BATE Borisov

Bayer Leverkusen

Bayern Munich

Benfica

Borussia Dortmund

Chelsea

CSKA Moscow

Galatasaray

Juventus

Liverpool

Ludogorets

Malmo

Manchester City

Maribor

Monaco

Olympiacos

Paris St-Germain

Porto

Real Madrid

Roma

Schalke 04

Shaktar Donetsk

Sporting CP

Zenit St Petersburg

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content