Swiss hold Dutch to draw in Amsterdam
Goalkeeper Diego Benaglio made several key saves as a defense-minded Switzerland held the Netherlands to a 0-0 draw Friday in an international friendly.
Switzerland created few chances of its own, but its defense managed to keep at bay a Dutch strikeforce missing forwards Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Arjen Robben.
The Netherlands has already qualified for next year’s European championships in Poland and Ukraine while Switzerland missed out on a playoff spot and was eliminated.
”Today we didn’t really manage to show what we are capable of doing,” Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder said. ”We didn’t really play our game. We can do better.”
Bert van Marwijk’s side travels to Germany for another friendly Tuesday.
Recalled winger Ryan Babel had the first chance for the Netherlands, unleashing a right-footed shot from within the area in the 15th only for Switzerland goalkeeper Diego Benaglio to palm his effort away from danger.
The Wolfsburg goalkeeper was called into action again in the 23rd when Babel, playing his first game for the Netherlands in a year, fired a low shot from the edge of the area but Benaglio swiftly reacted with a diving save.
Switzerland captain Gokhan Inler then forced Netherlands goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg into a save with a long-range shot in the 29th.
With both sides seeking to break the deadlock in the second half, Benaglio kept Switzerland in the game with another diving save in the 50th, blocking Robin van Persie’s bullet header.
Moments later, Wesley Sneijder’s volley narrowly missed the target while Rafael van der Vaart’s shot went over the bar.
After coming face-to-face with Benaglio in the 63rd, Van Persie sent his effort narrowly wide.
Inler’s free kick in the 58th nearly put Switzerland ahead but Stekelenburg made the save.
PSV Eindhoven’s Erik Pieters sat out with an injury while Ibrahim Afellay and Robben were also sidelined. Captain Mark van Bommel was rested.
Reto Ziegler, Valon Behrami and Eren Derdiyok were missing for Switzerland after picking up injuries prior the game.