The ASF (Association Suisse de Football) had been founded in 1895. But like the rest of the continent (except the British Home Nations), it took nearly a decade for them to enter the International arena.
There had been contact with the rest of the continent at club level. Swiss Selection Teams had also played against their foreign counterparts.
The urge to enter International football intensified with the Founding of FIFA in 1904.
The Swiss officially entered the world of International Football in a Friendly on February 12th, 1905 vs. France at Paris.
Swiss’ first opponents and hosts had played their first ever International Match of their own just months prior in 1904 vs. Belgium (3-3) tie.
This would be their own second ever match and their very first at home.
The Match Organizers USFSA (Union des sociétés françaises de sports athlétiques) and Racing Club de France (RCF) chose the venue to be Paris’ Parc des Princes.
France’s head of the Technical Commission Robert Guerin was also a journalist at ‘Le Matin’ newspaper as well as the Secretary of the Football department at USFSA and most importantly the first President of FIFA.
The Swiss boarded their train in third class. They traveled on Friday night into Saturday (18 hours total) to arrive at Paris.
Their Federation gave each player 12.60 Swiss Francs for pocket money.
Team Captain Edouard Garonne did not accept the money.
Secretary-General Tschudy made the following statement "Mr. Ed. Garrone, Capt. Of the Grasshopper Club, now returns this amount with the remark that the Grasshopper Club does not allow any additional compensation to be paid to its members apart from the travel expenses. " (Something may be lost in the direct translation, my excuses..)
On Saturday the Swiss delegation arrived fresh and rested and at 9 AM were met by officials of USFSA: Mr Espir, Robert Guerin and Ernest Weber.
The Swiss Federation President Schneider (also a FIFA Vice President) visited the capital with the squad. They all went to bed early to be fresh for next day’s match.
Johan Bollinger and Eric Mory joined the squad separately on the morning of the match as they could not be available before.
The French players were called up via the newspaper ‘L’Auto’ on Sunday, The day of the match!!!!!!
The players as well as the two substitutes were asked to meet at 10 AM at USFSA Headquarters at 229, Rue Saint-Honoré to get to know one another!!
Some players were doing their military service and had to arrive from various locations: Mesnier (from Chateauroux), Canelle (from Rouen), Verlet (from Toul), Allemane (from Chalons-Sur-Marne) and Filez (the only member from the North).
Photo From: L'Equipe de Suisse, Authors Guy Balibouse, Roger Felix, Pierre Tripod, 1993(Switzerland squad, February 12, 1905, France 1-Switzerland 0)
Most of the French contingent had played in their inaugural match vs, Belgium in the previous year. The only debutants were Allemane, Wilkes and Nicolai.
There was a rugby match at the stadium preceding this historic meeting and many felt most of the fans were there for that occasion.
In the Rugby Match, Racing defeated Sporting Club (15-3). Immediately after the match, the goalposts were installed.
The French wore white shirts with Black shorts except Mesnier. USFSA had not provided shorts for the whole squad, as they did not have enough equipment for all the players. As a result the players wore black shorts, however, Louis Mesnier had to wear his own white shorts. The Swiss wore Red Shirts with a White Cross.
The French won the coin toss and the Swiss were to play the first half with the sun in their eyes.
Photo From: L’Equipe, L’Equipe de France de Football, la Belle Histoire
(February 12, 1905, France 1-Switzerland 0)
The French started well with Georges Garnier and Fernand Canelle standing out. The Swiss gradually got into the game and created opportunities. They found the French goalkeeper Maurice Guichard in excellent form. He made many important saves to keep the French in the game. He was praised as the hero of the match.
The winning goal was scored after an hour of play. Pierre Allemane passed to Marius Royet, who released Gaston Cyprès. Cyprès feigned a cross towards Garnier, but shot in right corner of the Swiss goalkeeper.
Five minutes later, Cyprès scored another goal that was ruled offside by 50 centimeters!
The Swiss pressed hard towards the end but found Guichard unbreachable. Near the end, Guichard even saved on the line an effort by Hans Kampfer.
The French were victorious of their first ever match and made history of their own.
The Swiss praised the speed of the French, while the French praised the Swiss resistance and their understanding and teamwork with one another.
Photo From: Capitaines des bleus depuis 1904, Author Vincent Duluc
(France squad, February 12, 1905, France 1-Switzerland 0)
At end of match, the winners were offered a bronze trophy called ‘Société d’encouragement au Football’.
France’s Georges Garnier declared ‘there are no winners nor losers, just two teams who played well’.
French Newspaper ‘L’Auto’ were very encouraged by the match and felt it had surpassed all expectations. According to them this match proved the definitive triumph of Association Football in France.
Despite the loss the Swiss had given a good account of themselves. It was a first important step in the Fraternity of International Football.
1- USFSA stands for (Union des sociétés françaises de sports athlétiques), the French Sports governing body at the time.
2-France’s Marius Royet was killed during World War I in 1915.
Photo From: Die Nati, Die Geschichte der Schweizer Fussball-Nationalmanschaft, author Beat Jung, 2006
(Switzerland squad and Match action from ‘La Suisse Sportive’ Newspaper, February 12, 1905, France 1-Switzerland 0)
Date: February 12, 1905
Result: France 1-Switzerland 0
Venue: Paris -Parc des Princes
Referee: John Lewis (England)
(France): Gaston Cyprès 60
Maurice Guichard (Union Sportive Parisienne-Paris)
Fernand Canelle (Club Français-Paris)
Joseph Verlet (Football Club de Paris)
Charles Wilkes (Le Havre Athletic Club Football Association)
Pierre Allemane (captain) (Racing Club de France- Paris)
Eugène Nicolai (United Sports Club-Paris)
Louis Mesnier (Football Club de Paris)
Marius Royet (Union Sportive Parisienne-Paris)
Georges Garnier (Club Français-Paris)
Gaston Cyprès (Football Club de Paris)
Adrien Filez (Union Sportive Tourquennoise)
Coach: Federation’s Technical Commission
Georges Bilot (Cercle Athlétique de Paris)
Alfred Uster (Football Club La Chaux-de-Fonds)
Johann Friedrich ‘Fritz’ Bollinger (BSC (Baseler Sport Club) Old Boys-Basel)
Eric Mory (BSC (Baseler Sport Club) Old Boys-Basel)
Alfred Megroz (Montriond-Sports Football Club – Lausanne)
Jean Forestier (Servette Football Club – Genève)
Robert Studer (Fußball Club Bern)
Eugen Dutschler (Sankt-Gallen Fußball Club)
Karl Billeter (Football Club Cantonal Neuchâtel)
Edouard Garonne (captain) (Grasshopper-Club Zürich)
Hans Kampfer (Montriond-Sports Football Club – Lausanne)
Hermann Kratz (Young Fellows Football Club –Zürich)
Coach: Emil Hasler
Capitaines des bleus depuis 1904, Author Vincent Duluc, 2003
Die Nati, Die Geschichte der Schweizer Fussball-Nationalmanschaft, author Beat Jung, 2006
IFFHS, Schweiz,Suisse, Svizzera (1905-1940)
L’Equipe, L’Equipe de France de Football, la Belle Histoire
L'Equipe de Suisse, Authors Guy Balibouse, Roger Felix, Pierre Tripod, 1993L'Integrale de L'Equipe de France de Football, Authors J.M. and Pierre Cazal, Michel Oreggia, 1998