Sports / Soccer

Hitzfeld announces retirement as coach

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-07-02 15:51

Hitzfeld announces retirement as coach

Switzerland's national soccer players huddle together for a team-talk with team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld before their extra time in their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against Argentina at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo, July 1, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

SAO PAULO - After being eliminated from the 2014 World Cup by Argentina in the round of 16, Swiss boss Ottmar Hitzfeld announced retirement from coaching here on Tuesday.

"I'd like to congratulate my players for the way they reacted at the end. Today Switzerland earned the recognition of many people around the world and we can walk away with our heads held high," said the 65-year-old German in the post match conference. "As for my future, I'm retiring from coaching so I can lead a quieter life."

Hitzfeld's side held Argentina 0-0 in 90 minutes but failed to prolong the match to penalty shootout as Angel Di Maria's winner in the 117th minute sealed the hard-labored victory.

Hitzfeld admitted their game plan was to strangle Messi with three or four players but it was a mistake to just concentrate on one player.

"It took a great finish to beat (Diego) Benaglio today," said Hitzfeld, hailing the outstanding performance of their goalkeeper from Bundesliga club Wolfsburg.

Hitzfeld took over as coach of the Swiss national team in summer 2008. Switzerland finished top of its qualifying group to reach the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, where they were eliminated after the group stage. It is the first time for Hitzfeld to guide a team into the knockout round in World Cup.

Starting his coaching career in 1983, Hitzfeld has accumulated a total of 18 major club titles, mostly in his tenures with Grasshopper Club Zurich, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

And he is also one of only five managers to win the UEFA Champions League (European Cup) with two different clubs, as he guided Dortmund to lift the trophy in 1997 and led Bayern Munich to cruise to the top podium in 2001.

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