After the unexpected 4-1 defeat of Romania in the Pontiac Silverdome, Roy Hodgson, their English coach, was being hailed as the new William Tell, Switzerland's folk hero, while streets in Zurich were filled with spontaneous processions and waving flags.
The chant in the narrow streets of Berne's Old Town was '4-1, 4-1', and in Geneva people came out on to their balconies to join in the celebrations.
Adrian Knup, on his recall to the side after injury, scored two goals in the second half after his striking partner, Stephane Chapuisat, had given the Swiss a 2-1 lead soon after the break. Alain Sutter had put them ahead in the first period, before Gheorghe Hagi equalised for Romania.
The victory gave the Swiss four points from two matches and should take them into the second round, as long as they are not heavy losers against Colombia on Sunday. 'The last game will not be so hard because we won't be under this kind of pressure,' Georges Bregy, their experienced midfielder, said.
'I am very proud of my players,' Hodgson said. 'After 40 years the Swiss people have a chance to celebrate a victory in the World Cup.' Romania's manager, Anghel Iordanescu, blamed individual mistakes for his side's defeat, and he added that Romania's tiring schedule, which involved flying nearly 2,000 miles to Detroit from Los Angeles for the game before returning to California, had played a role.
SWITZERLAND (4-4-2): Pascolo (Servette); Hottiger (Sion), Herr (Sion), Geiger (Sion), Quentin (Sion); Ohrel (Servette), Bregy (Young Boys Berne), Sforza (Kaiserslautern), Sutter (Nuremberg); Knup (VfB Stuttgart), Chapuisat (Borussia Dortmund). Substitutes: Bickel (Grasshopper Zurich) for Sutter, 71; Sylvestre (Lausanne) for Ohrel, 82.
ROMANIA (3-5-2): Stelea (Rapid Bucharest); Mihali (Dinamo Bucharest), Belodedici (Valencia), Prodan (Steaua Bucharest); Petrescu (Genoa), Lupescu (Bayer Leverkusen), Popescu (PSV Eindhoven), Munteanu (Cercle Bruges), Dumitrescu (Steaua Bucharest); Hagi (Brescia), Raducioiu (Milan). Substitutes: Vladoiu (Rapid Bucharest) for Dumitrescu, 70; Panduru (Steaua Bucharest) for Lupescu, 85.Reuse content