Ramon Vega interview: Switzerland leave World Cup with heads held high

Vega representing Switzerland against England at Euro'96 (©GettyImages)

Former Switzerland international and Tottenham Hotspur defender Ramon Vega has told GiveMeSport that he is bitterly disappointed to see his home country leave the World Cup - but believes that the players can go home with their heads held high.

The Swiss narrowly and frustrating lost against an uninspiring Argentina side on Tuesday in the last minute of extra time, as Angel di Maria cooly slotted home a cultured finish to break the hearts of a nation and dramatically endi Switzerland's brave campaign.


Vega, who played 23 times for his country, had admiration for the manner in which the players made a good account of themselves, not making the same defensive errors which saw them fall to a humiliating 5-2 defeat to France in their group.

The 43-year-old also expressed how they needed to stand strong against the potent attacking threat of Argentina, paying close attention to Lionel Messi and Di Maria in-particular.

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"I'm disappointed, obviously, but the Switzerland team handled themselves really well. They didn't open themselves up like in the game against France, and defended really well," Vega told GiveMeSport.

"They needed to do that against the likes of Messi and Di Maria, and all the players can leave with their heads held high."

Xherdan Shaqiri

The former Celtic defender was also quick to highlight how impressed he was with Bayern Munich starlet Xherdan Shaqiri, who was Switzerland's most notable form of attack throughout the tournament.

Vega wasted no time in stating how he thinks Shaqiri has proven himself at the highest possible level and shown the world what he can do. He even went as far as to comparing him to arguably the best player on the planet and on-field opponent on Tuesday. 

"Xherdan Shaqiri in particular had a great game. He came out and showed that he could play at the highest level in the big games against the best players," he added.

"Messi is great, of course, but I don't think Shaqiri was too far behind him on the pitch yesterday."


Despite the disappointment of a dramatic defeat, Vega claimed that his country were not that far behind their Argentinian counter-parts - who are still one of the big favourties to be crowed champions. 

He believes it was a close game that could of gone either way, but draws attention to the old cliche that if you don't take your chances against the big teams than you will be punished for it.

"The cold hard facts are that we lost, of course, but we could have scored. Switzerland created the chances that could have won it, but if you don't take them you get punished at the top level. That's what happened," Vega added

Pre-tournament favourites

Vega claims that hosts Brazil were his number one choice before the tournament began, but is now suggesting that it may be too much for them to go all the way with the opposition that stand in their way. 

The Swiss is now leaning towards Colombia, who Brazil face on Friday night, after admitting that they can go the distance should they triumph in their quarter-final. He is also aware that the Dutch should be taken very seriously, with slightly easier games in front of them.

Vega concluded: "Brazil were my favourites from the start, but it's Colombia who have been the real surprise and impressed me the most. They play in a free-spirited way, attacking and scoring great goals, and I think if they beat Brazil they could go all the way."

"The hosts still have a long way to go, and if they beat Colombia they'll have to play Germany or France. That's a tough route, and I think Germany especially could cause Brazil problems if they meet in the semi-final. You can never count them out."

Kind draw

"On the other side of it, you have the Dutch, and the draw seems to have been pretty kind at this stage. I think they have a nice route to the final and whoever they play, it would be a great final."

The quarter-finals take place on Friday and Saturday this week, with the World Cup final a week on Sunday.

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