Switzerland will be missing captain Alexander Frei and midfielder Valon Behrami for their 2010 FIFA World Cup™ opening match against European champions Spain, according to Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.
Hitzfeld revealed that neither Frei nor Behrami had recovered from ankle and thigh injuries respectively to be fit enough for Wednesday's Group H match.
Frei, who played at both UEFA EURO 2004 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals scoring twice in the latter, injured his right ankle in training on 9 June and has been battling to get fit by riding a bike and running.
I have decided that Alex Frei cannot play yet. The target is to have him fit for the second match against Chile.
"I have decided that Alex Frei cannot play yet," said the 61-year-old German. "The target is to have him fit for the second match against Chile. It is imperative that he trains intensively, and that he is 100 percent fit."
Hitzfeld said it was a similar scenario with 25-year-old West Ham United player Behrami. "I didn't call on Valon Behrami so that he could carry on having treatment up to the Chile match," said Hitzfeld.
Three-time quarter-finalists Switzerland, who reached the second round in Germany 2006, round off their group stage campaign against Honduras on 25 June in Bloemfontein.