Switzerland’s all-time top scorer Alexander Frei and FC Basel teammate Marco Streller have quit the Swiss national team after tiring of repeated abuse from fans.

"/> Switzerland’s all-time top scorer Alexander Frei and FC Basel teammate Marco Streller have quit the Swiss national team after tiring of repeated abuse from fans.

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FOOTBALL

Frei and Streller retire from national team

Switzerland’s all-time top scorer Alexander Frei and FC Basel teammate Marco Streller have quit the Swiss national team after tiring of repeated abuse from fans.

Frei and Streller retire from national team
Reto Stauffer

Switzerland have just four points from as many matches in Euro 2012 qualifying, and the departures of two key players leaves team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld with a daunting task when his team face England at Wembley Stadium in June.

Hitzfeld engaged in lengthy discussions with the players before accepting their resignations, according to a statement from the Swiss Football Association.  

The 31-year-old Frei scored 42 goals in 84 games for Switzerland. He has reacted angrily to jeering from supporters during the national team’s poor start in Group G, and had already stated that he would not play any more home games for Switzerland.

“I can say with a clear conscience that I’ve always tried to give my best,” said Frei.

Streller, 29, who netted 12 times in his 37 appearances, shared Frei’s disappointment with some of the team’s supporters as he hung up his international boots.  

“I wish my young colleagues in the national team the best for the future, and hope above all that they have the support of the fans even in difficult times,” said Streller.

FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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