Hitzfeld not concerned about Switzerland form
Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said Thursday he was not concerned about his team's poor results and lacklustre form in the buildup to the World Cup.
Hitzfeld launched a defence of his team, which has lost three straight friendly matches at home since qualifying for the finals last October.
"Our focus is only on the match against Spain," Hitzfeld said, targeting the June 16 opener in Durban against the European champion.
Switzerland's 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica on Tuesday meant the only goal it has scored during its losing streak, which started against Norway last November and continued against Uruguay in March, was a penalty. No Swiss forward has scored in five games.
Hitzfeld's team has one last warmup match, against world champion Italy in Geneva on Saturday, before arriving in South Africa.
"If those days in Crans-Montana were only about getting positive results against Costa Rica and Italy, we would have prepared differently for the friendly matches," he said at the team's Alpine training camp.
"That is why I'm not bothered by the results or the performances."
Hitzfeld is likely to make at least one change to the side that will face Italy, with Valon Behrami overcoming a left ankle injury to play in midfield.
But the veteran German coach said he did not want to upset a settled formation that "crystalized itself during qualification."
Hitzfeld rejected criticism of two of his expected key players -- midfield linchpin Gokhan Inler and Bayer Leverkusen winger Tranquillo Barnetta, who he said missed playing time at the end of the Bundesliga season.
Barnetta said it was "difficult to understand" why Swiss fans jeered the players during Tuesday's match at Sion.
"By the middle of the first half, we made one or two bad passes and we were already getting whistles," he said. "Criticism after the game is fine but during the game you need their support."
Defender Reto Ziegler said supporters deserved a positive match before the World Cup.
"We're going to do our best on Saturday and play for the coach," Ziegler said. "He is always there for us."
Switzerland also plays Chile and Honduras in Group H.