Switzerland's defence is as good as it gets in soccer, but it wasn't enough at the World Cup.
Despite yielding only one goal in three games, the Swiss did not advance to the second round because they couldn't score against Honduras on Friday. The 0-0 draw sent Chile into the round of 16 the runner-up to Spain in Group H.
The Swiss could have locked up a spot in the second round with a two-goal win over Honduras. But Switzerland played with little urgency or creative flair until late in the match, and it couldn't turn its domination of possession into quality scoring opportunities.
Honduras almost stole a win in the 71st minute, but goalkeeper Diego Benaglio denied a wide-open Edgar Alvarez with a brilliant one-handed save.
"We had an incredible Diego Benaglio who kept us in the game," Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said. "But as far as our creative play, that's not something I can be happy with. I'm not happy with my strikers, either."
The draw ended a Swiss run in South Africa that started with a 1-0 upset win over European champion Spain. But Switzerland then lost 1-0 to Chile, and couldn't muster a goal against winless Honduras to finish with four points. Spain and Chile had six.
Switzerland earlier set a World Cup record for consecutive scoreless minutes before Chile beat it.
"We are very disappointed. Not just me, everyone the players, the staff, the people behind the scenes," Hitzfeld said. "In the end there is only the win against Spain, but we have to leave with our heads held high even if we didn't make it."
Came close early
The Swiss came close in the 17th minute when Tranquillo Barnetta's cross from the left found Eren Derdiyok at the back post, but Derdiyok headed just wide.
Striker Blaise Nkufo then had two chances just before the half. In the 43rd minute, a cross from Derdiyok found Nkufo, but the striker could only tamely chest the ball across the goalmouth. A minute later, Nkufo headed a free kick wide.
After a tight first half, the game opened up in the second with both teams facing elimination. Needing to score, Hitzfeld brought on Hakan Yakin at the break and striker Alex Frei in the 69th to liven up the Swiss attack.
But the Hondurans had the better chances, in great part because the Swiss were pushing forward.
"I think we played a good match," Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares said. "We had much more ball possession. We felt much more self-assured ... We had the chances to win but the team that scores wins."
Honduras struggled from the start in a tough group, losing 1-0 to Chile and 2-0 to Spain. The team exits South Africa without having scored a goal, but at least getting a point.
Coach Reinaldo Rueda, who selected six new players Friday from the loss to Spain, took heart from his squad's performance against Switzerland.
"The players knew well the importance of this last game," he said. "They couldn't unleash their potential in the first half but they knew of course what this game meant. They really showed their courage and brought everything they had."