Swiss deny COVID wave after Portugal World Cup defeat
Murat Yakin

DOHA, Qatar (AFP) — Switzerland team chiefs denied Wednesday that several sick players were suffering from the coronavirus as they sought to explain their World Cup humbling by Portugal.

At least three players were affected during their 6-1 defeat in the round of 16 on Tuesday.

Coach Murat Yakin said Tuesday that Silvan Widmer had been suffering from "fever" and "cold symptoms", Fabian Schaer was replaced at half-time because he was struggling with breathlessness and Nico Elvedi, who did not play, was "not 100 per cent".

Sports director Pierluigi Tami told a press conference on Wednesday: "It was not a question of COVID. It was a virus that spread in the hotel. Not all, but some players caught it.

"We knew about the problem [the virus] and had made recommendations to the team. At the start, it was not a problem.

"Of course, we will see if we can do things better in the future."

Several Swiss players have suffered during the World Cup from what the team management has called "colds".

"We were lacking in freshness. Unfortunately, we had several players who were sick or suffering and our opponents were stronger," Yakin said after the game.

The coach blamed the defeat on the "energy" spent in the first three games.

Portugal will play Morocco in Saturday's quarter-final.

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