Three of Switzerland’s elder statesmen announced their international retirement following the team’s elimination from Euro 2004.
Striker Stephane Chapuisat, goalkeeper and captain Joerg Stiel and midfielder Fabio Celestini are making way for a new generation.
After a disappointing tournament that produced two defeats and a 0-0 draw with Croatia, the Swiss will look to build on the promise shown by the likes of
18-year-old striker Johann Vonlanthen, whose goal in Monday’s 3-1 defeat by France made him the youngest goalscorer at a European Championship.
Switzerland’s disciplinary record has also come under scrutiny. In two of their group matches, the Swiss had a player sent off while there is an ongoing UEFA investigation into allegations that Alexander Frei spat at Steven Gerrard during the 3-0 defeat to England.
“He did not tell us the truth and we cannot tolerate this kind of behaviour from any of our players,” said Swiss Football Federation president Ralph Zloczower.
“It has been a very good experience for the younger players and we will be much stronger from it for 2008,” said coach Jakob Kuhn.
“Our greatest difficulties have been in scoring goals – but you must remember that we had injuries that deprived us of players before the tournament began.”