France traps Belgium again

France traps Belgium again
France traps Belgium again

After waiting 31 years to beat Italy, will Switzerland break another black streak?

On Saturday in Düsseldorf, they will face England in the quarter-finals of the Euro, which they have not beaten for… 43 years.

On 30 May 1981 in Basel in the “old” St-Jacques stadium, the team then led by Paul Wolfisberg won 2-1 against the Three Lions thanks to goals before the half-hour mark from Fredy Scheiwiler and Claudio Sulser. This victory, as beautiful as it was, was for nothing. The Swiss did not qualify for the World Cup in Spain the following year.

Three memorable meetings

Three of the fourteen games played in the last 43 years remain in the memory. There was, of course, the 1-1 at Wembley in the opening match of Euro 1996 with the penalty converted by Kubilay Türkyilmaz which had suggested for three days that Artur Jorge’s Switzerland could have ambitions in this tournament.

Eight years later, at the Euro in Portugal, Switzerland lost 3-0 in Coimbra thanks to a double from Wayne Rooney, who was just 18 years old, and a goal from Steven Gerrard. The latter had been the “victim” of the stupidest gesture of Alex Frei’s career, the spit in the neck that the ASF had denied before the images on German-speaking television pulverized this almost anachronistic defense.

Finally, there was the 2-2 of June 4, 2011, with Tranquillo Barnetta’s double in a match that was Granit Xhaka’s first in the colors of the Swiss team. 128 have followed since that sunny Saturday at Wembley for the Basel player. The 130th could allow him to further forge his legend, to become the first captain to lift the Swiss team into the last four of a major competition.

Jude Bellingham the Savior

The task facing Granit Xhaka and his teammates looks particularly arduous. Failing to really convince through their collective, England can rely on some striking individuals.

On Sunday in Gelsenkirchen, Jude Bellingham, with an almost brilliant inspiration, saved the Three Lions from sinking with his equaliser at the end of added time against Slovakia. “Within 30 seconds, we were back home,” smiled the Real Madrid player. In extra time, it was Harry Kane who qualified his team thanks to his… 65th goal for the national team. At any moment, the two men can change the fate of a match

England’s other strength is their iron defence. Under Gareth Southgate, England have truly become a defensive machine. At Euro 2021, Jordan Pickford had conceded just two goals in seven games before keeping three clean sheets in five games at the 2022 World Cup. And in this Euro, the Everton keeper has only been beaten twice in four games.

Despite a line of four in front of him who sometimes allow themselves a few lapses like the two Cityzens Kyle Walker and John Stones, the English defense often gives the impression of being invulnerable. It is up to the Swiss to find the flaw against a team that undoubtedly plays football less well than them but which is so difficult to beat!

This article was published automatically. Source: ats

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