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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Preview: Switzerland v Portugal

Switzerland and Portugal face-off in a winner-takes-all match for the right to be crowned Women’s Four Nations Tournament - and the form book suggests that it will be the Swiss who prove victorious at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Portugal will be looking for revenge following their double defeat at the hands of the Swiss in the recent Euro 2010 EHF European Championship qualifiers. In Switzerland last March the Portuguese lost 28-25, with the scores tied at 14-14 apiece at half-time, and back on their home turf in April they suffered a 27-17 defeat, despite only being one goal down at the break at 12-13.

Both sides have looked strong so far here in Liverpool, winning both their games against hosts GB and Italy, although the Swiss have the slightly better record having scored more and conceded less.

Switzerland opened up their tournament with 32-26 victory over Italy on Thursday afternoon followed by a 20-18 win over their hosts last night.

The Portuguese will be wary of Swiss left-wing Annina Ganz who has top scored for her side so far with 11 strikes in two games and who has been ably supported by right-back Karin Weigelt who has nine. However, pivot Ariane Geissman – room mate of GB stars Lynn McCafferty and Holly Lam-Moores at Aarhus – was quiet in the match last night and will be looking to add to her seven strikes in that opening victory for the Swiss on Thursday.

Portugal’s 100 per cent winning streak could be in jeopardy as both their wins have come by the solitary goal. Their opening game saw them edge GB 23-22 on the full-time buzzer having gone into the break 12-11 down whilst their 27-26 victory against Italy yesterday afternoon also came thanks to a last-second strike from right-back Maria Pereira, despite the game tied 12-12 at half time.

Centre-back Claudia Correia is a real threat in front of the goal for the Portuguese having scored 13 times so far with a 100 per cent record from the penalty spot. Correia is supported by pivot Bebiana Sabino who has a tally of eight from her two games and both players will be trying their hardest to win the trophy and avenge those recent Euro qualifying defeats.

Preview by Andrew McSteen

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