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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
Kerr: Swiss deserved win
Kerr will use upcoming friendlies to look at new players
Brian Kerr looks dejected after the final whistle in Basel

Brian Kerr conceded that his Republic of Ireland were beaten by a better team as Switzerland won 2-0 to end Irish hopes of making it to Euro 2004.

Ireland gave a below-par performance in their final Group Ten qualifier and lost to goals from Hakan Yakin after six minutes and Alexander Frei on the hour.

The result meant that the Swiss won the group, with Russia going into the play-offs and Ireland finishing third.

"We weren't good enough," acknowledged Republic boss Kerr.

"Some days you play teams who are better than you and they beat you, and you have to accept they were better, and they were better than us.

"They played well, they are a good team and they have had a very settled team throughout the competition and a lot of stability and experience.

"I knew it was going to be a difficult task but the early goal made it a huge task.

We had too much to do after losing the first two games
Brian Kerr

"We had no rhythm in the first 20 minutes but as the game went on we came into it quite well and made a reasonable number of chances for international football, but we didn't take them.

"Then we didn't have a very good second half. I thought we gave away poor goals, although Switzerland will probably say they were good goals".

When Switzerland won 2-1 in Dublin 12 months ago it marked the end of Mick McCarthy's reign, and Kerr took charge of a team with no points from a possible six.

He was unbeaten until Saturday's game but said the poor start to the qualifying campaign was too big a hurdle to overcome.

Kerr said: "We got 11 points from 18 since I came into the job and 11 from 24 in the group, and that wasn't enough.

"We have given it a good go and got to the last match with a chance.

"But we had too much to do after losing the first two games and conceding too many goals in them".

Having failed to make it to Portugal next summer, Kerr will now look to integrate new players into his squad and give his current crop more experience in a series of friendlies.

We played together tremendously as a team
Swiss goalscorer Hakan Yakin

"We can accelerate the process of blending some more players," said Kerr.

Swiss coach Kobi Kuhn celebrates his 60th birthday on Sunday and the crowd sang happy birthday to him at the end.

He said: "I've got the present already, the win today, and I had 30,000 people singing happy birthday, what more could I want?"

His players celebrated out on the field for almost half-an-hour after the final final.

For star midfielder Hakan Yakin, the goal capped a morale-boosting return for the Swiss side which had been thrown into doubt until the last moment by an ankle injury.

"We're overjoyed, I was in some pain but the joy and the crowd spurred me on," said Yakin who was substituted in the second half.

"This was a collective performance, we played together tremendously as a team".






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