By Neil Maidment
SALVADOR, Brazil, June 20 (Reuters) - Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld lamented a "bleak day" for his side after they were crushed 5-2 by France in World Cup Group E on Friday, saying they never recovered after conceding two quickfire goals in the first 20 minutes.
"I am very disappointed with our defeat, it was truly a very bleak day for us," the former Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund coach told reporters. "The double attack really broke us.
"When you play against a strong and classical team and go 2-0 down, it is hard to come back because our opponents were just waiting for our mistakes, they were able to make many counter attacks and we were having to play France's game.
"There were opportunities to score but we were not able to score in the first half and then there were some individual mistakes and we lost the third goal.
"We were able to score two goals at least, that was very good for the team's morale but it is nonetheless a very sad day for us."
Switzerland still have a good chance of qualifying for the last 16 thanks to their 2-1 win over Ecuador in the opening game.
"We still have high hopes for qualifying and it will depend on us," added the 65-year-old German who will retire after the World Cup.
"We shall analyse the game and look forward to the future.
"Of course there will be a lot of criticism, quite appropriately, but the team will come together.
"We win together and we also lose together and I expect this kind of reaction from the team.
"France are one of the teams that certainly can go very far in this tournament," he added. "They were much superior to England or Italy." (Additional reporting by Erik Kirschbaum in Santo Andre; writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)