Euro Bringing Out Best and Worst of All as Switzerland Shock France

Switzerland aren’t exactly known for their exciting way of playing football. Still, with little lest to lose in a match against World Champions France, the Swiss came swinging. This was a game with goals galore, and much like the previous match between Spain and Croatia an ambassador for the European Championship.

The two neighboring countries began the game in entirely opposite circumstances. One set of players were the World Champions. The others looked merely happy to have somehow made it to this stage.

Didier Deschamps, one of football’s most conservative and pragmatic managers, began the match using his regular 4-3-3 formation. Few changes were made from the team that had represented France through the Group Stage. While that side did not impress, the assortment of France stars rarely warrants replacing.

Switzerland’s Vladimir Petkovic also threw caution to the wind. Back was the 3-4-1-2 formation in which Xherdan Shaqiri, a highly talented player most active as a substitute back in England, acts as the team’s maestro.

Switzerland and Belgium are two of the most praised, hipster international teams. Neither has won everything, but only the Swiss have failed to impress across multiple tournaments. This was an evening when the Swiss players finally came good.

In the 15th minute, the Swiss stunned their neighbors when Haris Seferovic made it past Hugo Lloris and headed the ball into the net.

The French may have dominated possession but were unable to respond during the first half. Things only got worse when in the 55th minute Switzerland were awarded a penalty. Ricardo Rodriguez took the shot, but it was saved by Lloris.

Next, France enjoyed a tremendous run of dominance. First, Karim Benzema scored the equalizer from a short-range tap-in. Benzema added a second minutes later. And, in the 75th minute, Paul Pogba took a superb long-range effort to seemingly clinch the qualification battle.

But Switzerland had some fight left in them. In the 81st minute the enthusiastic, but rarely reliable, Haris Seferovic pulled one back for his team. And, in the final minute of play, pouncing on poor defending, Mario Gavranovic equalized from an excellent pass by Granit Xhaka.

This was not the glamorous end to the game that France may have expected. With no amount of skill making up for poor defending choices, the French team braced for a difficult 30 minutes of extra time.

Switzerland were never supposed to go this far. With little left to lose and expectations delivered, the talented, but seemingly always underdelivering Swiss began attacking. The next half hour, played with tired legs and immense pressure, was an even affair.

Going into the spot kicks, the World Champions looked genuinely scared. This was an outcome that few had expected. After all, pound for pound, this is the best squad to line up in this European Championship.

The Swiss took their shots and made them. The French had theirs and landed all of them. It came down to the final one. Kylian Mbappe, the Golden Child of French football, faced Yann Sommer. The Swiss keeper saved.

Switzerland are through. Tournament favorites France bowed out, never quite showing the clinical precision or killer instinct of which so many believed that they were capable.



June 28, 2021 – European Championship 2020 Round of 16
FRANCE-SWITZERLAND 3-3 after extra time, 4-5 on penalties

SCORERS: 15′ Seferovic (S), 57′ Benzema (F), 59′ Benzema (F), 75′ Pogba (F), 81′ Seferovic (S), 90′ Gavranovic (S) 

PENALTY SEQUENCE: Gavranovic (S) goal, Pogba (F) goal, Schar (S) goal, Giroud (F) goal, Akanji (S) goal, Thuram (F) goal, Vargas (S) goal, Kimpembe (F) goal, Mehmedi (S) goal, Mbappé (F) saved

FRANCE (3-4-1-2): Lloris; Varane, Lenglet (46′ Coman, 111′ Thuram), Kimpembe; Pavard, Pogba, Kanté, Rabiot; Griezmann (88′ Sissoko); Benzema (94′ Giroud), Mbappé (Mandanda, Maignan, Lemar, Tolisso, Zouma, Hernandez, Ben Yedder, Dubois) Coach: Deschamps
SWITZERLAND (3-4-1-2): Sommer; Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez (87′ Mehmedi); Widmer (73′ Mbabu), Freuler, Xhaka, Zuber (79′ Fassnacht); Shaqiri (73′ Gavranovic); Embolo (79′ Vargas), Seferovic (97′ Schar) (Mvogo, Kobel, Zakaria, Sow, Benito, Fernandes) Coach: Petkovic

REFEREE: Rapallini (Argentina)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Varane, Coman, Pavard (F), Elvedi, Rodriguez, Xhaka, Akanji (S)