Pour les Suisses (de g. à dr.: Fabian Schär, Breel Embolo,  le sélectionneur Murat Yakin, Noah Okafor, Ricardo Rodriguez et Renato Steffen), c’est l’heure de l’union sacrée

Football: The Swiss rely on the sacred union

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To soothe some of the bitterness of Sunday’s 4-0 win, the team captains organized a team lunch in Lisbon.

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Daniel Vientini

(Lisbon)

For the Swiss (from left to right: Fabian Schär, Breel Embolo, coach Murat Yakin, Noah Okafor, Ricardo Rodriguez and Renato Steffen) it’s time for a sacred union

Daniela Frutiger/freshfocus

There are times like this when you need to find resources, mobilize, face reality and try to deal with it. For this sluggish Swiss team in Prague and demoted in Lisbon, it’s time for a sacred union, not knowing if that will be enough to complete this week’s two challenges.

Switzerland, settling this Tuesday evening in the magnificent setting of La Réserve opposite the lake, is leaving Portugal. She finds him again on Sunday, for the second leg (we dare not speak of revenge). Before that, she will have played against Spain this Thursday. Two games in Geneva for a kind of redemption that doesn’t look easy.

stay united

On Monday evening, those responsible for selection (the three captains Xhaka, Shaqiri and Sommer as well as Freuler and Akanji) organized a team dinner to clear their heads. The whole group went to a restaurant in Lisbon for dinner. A meal between them, without the staff, without the coach, without anyone but the players.

The idea of ​​establishing the holy union after two final defeats? “The desire to be united, yes,” explains Noah Okafor. We’ve seen a lot of criticism, we have to accept it. The defense has been highlighted in the media. But as the saying goes: We win together and we lose together. This meal was a way to get together, it was nice.

After last Sunday’s debacle (4-0 and the result is flattering…) a proud reaction is expected. “We have to get better, that’s clear,” admits Okafor. look up. It is not easy to live with such a defeat. But we weren’t good enough, especially on the second balls. We need to recognize that and improve. I am convinced that we can react.”

Noah Okafor:

Noah Okafor: “I can play alone up front, but I still prefer to be on the wing or as a second striker.”

Daniela Frutiger/freshfocus

An improvement requires a general level that seriously needs to be revised upwards. At 22, Noah Okafor has a place in the selection thanks to his great potential. By the way: Where does he like to play most? “I can play alone up front, as has happened before,” he replies. But I still prefer to be on the wing or as a second striker. To see how Murat Yakin will prepare the tactics for Thursday night’s game against Spain.

The Yakin-Xhaka Relationship

In the background there are always tensions between the coach and Granit Xhaka, related to misunderstandings in certain tactical directions. After all, we only see the captain of the selection in the mixed zones, after the matches (i.e. twice). In Prague it was Elvedi who accompanied Yakin the day before the game. In Lisbon it was Sow. In Geneva it could be Shaqiri this Wednesday. The management of the national team will ensure that there is no problem between Xhaka and Yakin. So much so that we are careful not to send Xhaka to the media the day before the meetings…

Today’s Switzerland has its problems, however. She has to face it. Thursday and Sunday in Geneva. Find some semblance of insurance, tighten the lines, tighten the connections (same goes for the captain and trainer).

Yakin will be without Vargas (torn thigh on Sunday warm-up), Schär (suspended) and Zuber (injured) against Spain. But maybe also Akanji and Elvedi (daily evaluation). We measure the character of a group by adversity: Switzerland have their backs to the wall, bottom of the Nations League, two games, two defeats, only one goal, six goals conceded.


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