Swiss eliminated in shootout

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The Associated Press The Associated Press

By The Associated Press

COLOGNE, Germany – The idea is to put the ball in the net, not just keep it out. Ukraine figured it out a lot quicker than Switzerland in the shootout Monday night.

And the World Cup newcomers are headed to the quarterfinals because of it.

After 120 minutes of scoreless soccer, goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskyi didn’t have to work very hard in the shootout, either. The Swiss misses weren’t even close.

The Swiss, who did not yield a goal in the entire tournament, stood stunned at their lack of marksmanship from the penalty spot in the first shootout of the tournament.

Meanwhile, Artem Milevskiy, Serhiy Rebrov and Oleg Gusev hit the net after Ukraine star Andriy Shevchenko’s weak, low shot was stopped by Switzerland’s Pascal Zuberbuehler.

The Ukrainians mobbed each other in a pile after the win, which put them in a match Friday against Italy at Hamburg.

Shevchenko said it was a “great victory.”

“We suffered a lot and we’re happy to have won for all Ukrainians,” Shevchenko said. “We do not have the greatest players, but we make up for that by making sacrifices for each other, by playing with a lot of heart.”

Both teams are considered outsiders at the World Cup, and if Ukraine can’t find a semblance of offense in the quarterfinals, it’s unlikely to stick around.

It was a tame game, particularly in comparison to the other quarterfinals. There was only one yellow card, the calmest game in a tournament that has set a record for yellows and for ejections.

Mexican referee Benito Archundia gave the yellow to Tranquillo Barnetta in the 59th minute for a push from behind.

Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin chose to start the shootout with his top scorer, but Shevchenko’s shot was poor. Even worse was Marco Streller’s effort low but directly at Shovkovskyi.

And after Milevskiy scored, Barnetta hit the crossbar. Rebrov made it 2-0 and Ricardo Cabanas looked almost amateurish on his shot directly into the middle of the goal – and right at Shovkovskyi.

Then Gusev powered his winner into the left side of the net.

“We put in a good performance and I hope all of Switzerland is still behind us. Football is sometimes hard, but we gained a loit of experience for Euro 2008 in our own country,” defender Ludovic Magnin said.

Each team came close to scoring in the first half, hitting the crossbar, but at the end of regulation the game remained scoreless.

“It’s not that we play defensive football, ” Switzerland coach Koebi Kuhn said. “We played how we’ve always played, which is why we allowed no goals throughout the tournament. Of course, that doesn’t help us now.”