Fabian Schär broke his nose on Wednesday evening

Fabian Schär broke his nose on Wednesday evening
Fabian Schär broke his nose on Wednesday evening

The good news first of all: Switzerland will play in the round of 16 of Euro 2024. It has progressed through the group stage of a major tournament for the sixth time in a row.

Even if it is not mathematically acquired, Switzerland’s qualification is beyond doubt. Since the move to 24 teams in 2016, never has a team that picked up 4 points in the first round been eliminated. “We have taken one more step,” slips Murat Yakin who must, of course, maintain all the usual precautions in his speech.

But on Wednesday evening, the coach had, in his mind, validated this qualification. “We won’t have the pressure of having to win at all costs on Sunday against Germany,” he says, suggesting that this neighbors’ derby will only have prestige at stake, apart from the first place in the group that Switzerland can achieve with success.

Don’t play with fire

Murat Yakin has no reason not to practice a large turnover on Sunday to, firstly, not play with fire with the four players under threat of suspension for the round of 16 in the event of a yellow card : Silvan Widmer, Remo Freuler, Ricardo Rodriguez and Vincent Sierro. It will be recalled that Vladimir Petkovic burned his wings during the 2018 World Cup.

The Ticino player took the risk of starting Fabian Schär, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Valon Behrami against Costa Rica while Switzerland did not really risk its skin in this last match of the group stage. The first two had been warned to watch the disastrous round of 16 against Sweden from the stands…

The bad news then: despite Xherdan Shaqiri’s extraordinary goal, his tenth in a final phase, the copy produced by the Swiss team during this second match was not what was hoped for. With Granit Xhaka pressed at every moment by the admirable Scott McTominay, Switzerland did not demonstrate the same mastery as Saturday against Hungary.

Like France two days earlier in front of Austria, the Swiss encountered certain difficulties in the real fight proposed by the Scots. Fabian Schär, the bravest of them, had to play from the 19th minute with a broken nose. The Saint-Gallois, however, was able to complete a match that he had started in the worst possible way with this stupid autogoal in the 13th minute.

Xherdan Shaqiri irreplaceable

Celebrated by the Swiss kop during his already “traditional” pre-match half-lap of honor, Murat Yakin had a sharp nose with his choice to throw Xherdan Shaqiri into the battle. If his autonomy did not exceed the hour of play, the striker fully justified the confidence of his coach.

But it would be surprising if Murat Yakin persisted in this choice on Sunday against Germany where his players will undoubtedly have to run behind the ball most often. After his tenure and his goal, Xherdan Shaqiri will undoubtedly more willingly accept the role of joker which will be assigned to him for the rest of the tournament. But Wednesday’s match reminded us of a truth: the only European player who has always scored at least one goal in the last six finals played since 2014 remains, at 32 and a half years old, simply irreplaceable.

Murat Yakin has ten days ahead of him to prepare for this round of 16 that Switzerland should logically play in Berlin against the runners-up in Group B, Spain and Italy. The Basel player knows that his team cannot deliver the same performance as against Scotland to hope to win.

He also knows that this match will be “the” match of truth for him. If he leads Switzerland to victory, he will have forgotten Vladimir Petkovic to assert himself as the greatest coach in history. He, the inveterate gambler, can truly embrace an extraordinary destiny.

This article was automatically published. Source: ats

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