Swiss reject Wembley offer

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The Independent Online
Having been refused permission to train on the Wembley pitch on Wednesday, due to a clash with the rehearsal for the European Championship opening ceremony, the Swiss camp turned down an offer from the Football Association to practise at the national stadium today.

"We will not bother now," said Artur Jorge, the Swiss coach whose side face England in the tournament opener tomorrow. "It would take up to four hours to travel to Wembley and back from our hotel and that is too much of the day before a game. I am not worried that we are going straight to Wembley without having practised there, because our players were here in November and know what it is like. But in normal circumstances it would have been nice to train there and we are unhappy that this has not been allowed.

Jorge will name his side today. The Everton full-back, Marc Hottiger, and Sion's Raphael Wicky are both ruled out due to suspension. Also banned from his side's first game is the Dutch captain, Danny Blind, whose side are likely to face Scotland at Villa Park on Monday with a part-timer taking Blind's place in defence.

Johan de Kock, a civil engineer whose day job is drawing up plans for new roads in the province of Limburg, where his club Roda JC Kerkrade are based, looks certain to play. "It is correct I have two jobs - I have a wife and two children to support - but it is 75 per cent football and only 25 per cent road-building," De Kock said.

The Netherlands are also likely to be without the Ajax striker Patrick Kluivert, who is struggling to recover from a knee injury. "There is still some fluid on the knee after he trained and to be honest the situation is that we just don't know where we are with him," Guus Hiddink, the Dutch coach, said yesterday.

Germany cancelled yesterday's scheduled training session at Macclesfield Town because of the poor state of the pitch at the GM Vauxhall Conference club. "I am very disappointed," Berti Vogts, Germany's coach, said. "We will have to change our ideas about where we are going to train." Mario Basler is doubtful for Sunday's game with the Czech Republic at Old Trafford because of an ankle injury.