The game seemed to have started well. After five minutes of play at the José Alvalade XXI stadium in Lisbon, Haris Seferovic sent the ball into Rui Patricio’s goal, thinking he would give the Swiss side an early advantage against Portugal. Problem: The action was clouded by a hand from Fabian Schär, which referee Orel Grinfeld held to be culpable after video assistance. The score stayed at 0:0. But the Nati started on a much more promising basis than on Thursday, when they were beaten against the Czech Republic (2-1).
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Murat Yakin and his men must be disillusioned. They were 3-0 down at half-time and were almost fortunate as their opponents used opportunities to put the ball harder. João Cancelo made it in the second half. Final score: 4:0.
Switzerland still haven’t won in 2022 after four games (one draw, three defeats). Above all, this time she received a severe setback, as there are few in her recent history. We have to go back to March 26, 2008 to find the trace of a Swiss defeat by four goals (0-4 against Germany). Aside from the recent memory of Italy’s slap during Euros (3-0), she hadn’t lost more than a goal since June 5, 2019. It was already against Portugal, already in the Nations League (3 -1)…
message of trust
Question: How important should we really be to this competition? On the one hand Ricardo Rodriguez, who at the beginning of the rally asserted ambitiously that he wanted to win it. Added to this is the openly expressed desire to remain in the top division in order to regularly have the opportunity to compete with the best teams on the continent. But on the other hand there is the decidedly experimental approach that Murat Yakin is pursuing these days. Obviously the coach didn’t field his best team on Sunday. In other words, the one with which he would have played against the same team at the World Cup.
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Of course, he had to overcome some rocks, including the injury of Ruben Vargas in warm-up, whom he replaced with Jordan Lotomba. But he also made a number of strong decisions. He rested Yann Sommer in goal in favor of Gregor Kobel (and already announced that Jonas Omlin would also play a match next week). In defense he spotted Kevin Mbabu while Silvan Widmer seems to have taken the lead on the right. In attack, he gave a chance to Haris Seferovic, who had been lacking playing time in recent months. He sent a message of confidence to all of these players. He told them, “I’m counting on you.”
And the energy used on the ground initially proved him right. With seven new faces compared to Thursday’s game against the Czech Republic and a different system, the Nati seemed more comfortable, more solid, even more inspired, with a Xherdan Shaqiri who gave the impression of great willingness to perform.
Ronaldo two-time goalscorer
And then, fifteen minutes into the game, William Carvalho opened the scoring, following up a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick that was backed into the axis by Gregor Kobel. This action should sum up what happened: a Portugal that is one step ahead in all circumstances. Of course there is the immense class of players like Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota or Cristiano Ronaldo who combined well to score the second goal. But above all, there is collective ability to project ourselves forward without comparison. At the end of the first half, when Portugal’s best and Switzerland’s worst were being weighed up, Ronaldo scored again but he could have had it three more times in a series of explosive games.
The Nati now play two games at the Stade de Genève, against Spain on Thursday and again against Portugal on Sunday. Two beautiful posters that will attract many viewers and around which many questions will arise. The most important: Is this four-goal defeat against Portugal the accompaniment to the formation of a new Swiss team or the symptom of an emerging crisis ten months after entry, according to Murat Yakin?
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