Samedi, l’équipe de Suisse a partagé le terrain d’entraînement avec des enfants de la région.

Football: The Diary of the League of Nations: Episode 1

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The Swiss team has been meeting in Bad Ragaz since Thursday. Anecdotes, briefings and indiscretions from those first days of preparation before things get serious.

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Valentine Schnorch

(Bad Ragaz)

On Saturday, the Swiss team shared the training ground with children from the region.

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Ascension Day in Bad Ragaz. In the small spa town in Eastern Switzerland, the audience is more numerous than usual. The place is the starting point for hikes in the surrounding mountains. There’s something comforting about landing in that corner. And not even the arrival of the Swiss team could disturb the peace of mind. Especially not Yann Sommer or Breel Embolo, who have arrived behind the wheel of their electric car.

Three days have passed since then. And the least we can say is that the preparations for the next four Nations League games (in the Czech Republic, Portugal and against Spain and Portugal in Geneva) are going very well. collect anecdotes.

Children in the spotlight

Better than Jorginho.  This time Yann Sommer has to bow down.

Better than Jorginho. This time Yann Sommer has to bow down.

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Public Saturday training in Bad Ragaz. The Swiss national players shared the lawn with children from the region for a good half hour. The kids live a daydream, taking penalties against Yann Sommer, playing a match with Breel Embolo and against Kevin Mbabu or playing chain sprints in a duel with Renato Steffen. Good mood and no injuries.

Shaqiri, just absent

Of the twenty-six selected retained by Murat Yakin, only one has not yet joined the group: Xherdan Shaqiri. The 30-year-old point guard played Saturday-Sunday nights with the Chicago Fire. And he lost 3-2 to Toronto. A dirty habit: Chicago is 14th in the MLS and bottom in the conference with just two wins in fourteen games and none in their last ten games. Even if “XS” was the originator of a decisive pass on Saturday. A touch of confidence ahead of joining the group on Monday.

Akanji, small mistake

As they await the arrival of their vice-captain, the Swiss group is doing well. With one very small exception: Manuel Akanji suffered a blow and didn’t train with the rest of the squad on Saturday. precaution it seems. The Borussia Dortmund defender was on the sidelines to do some strengthening exercises. In the worst case, Murat Yakin has a choice: Nico Elvedi, Fabian Schär, Eray Cömert, even Fabian Frei are also able to occupy a place in central defense. Even if the boss is Akanji.

The tactical indication

Murat Yakin is not really a secretive person. Of course, most national team training takes place behind closed doors and that’s where the coach works most on the details. But even during the public session on Saturday, the technician took the opportunity to work on the tactics. With a starting XI in the making: Without Akanji, Schär accompanied Elvedi in central defence, surrounded by Widmer and Rodriguez. In the middle, Freuler and Xhaka were logically connected, while Sow was placed on the right (!) and Vargas on the left. At the front, an Embolo-Okafor pair gave the team a very vertical character.

Vargas-Mbabu duel in Saturday training.

Vargas-Mbabu duel in Saturday training.

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Yakin has been working on this aspect. A compact and narrow mid-block at the heart of the game and on recovery a desire to be very direct and seek a support return at depth. Probably a plan to execute against the big teams, especially Spain and Portugal.

Schär is happy

Fabian Schär is ready to use his chance in central defense if Akanji or Elvedi are out.

Fabian Schär is ready to use his chance in central defense if Akanji or Elvedi are out.

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“This program is perfect for positioning us very well for us with top-class games,” said Fabian Schär on Saturday. We are dealing with three great nations. It will certainly be difficult, especially since four games have to be played in a very short time. It’s getting intense. But also good tests for the World Cup.

Tired anyway

In addition, we have to expect a certain rotation at these four meetings anyway. Because organisms are worn out. If most gamers say they enjoy being around opening mics, for some it’s an effort to make an effort. In the off it is said that reactivating the machine is not easy. But when the first few days are over, the rhythm will be found.

Families invited to Bad Ragaz

And in order to better pass on the pill, the management of the national team invited the players’ families and children over the weekend. The intention is of course commendable. Except that getting started in Bad Ragaz is not easy. And for some families, it would represent a land to traverse. According to Echos, one or the other player should find themselves alone at this great fair.

Bottani in another dimension

However, it is not known if Mattia Bottani’s family was involved. Or if she went on vacation to Greece without him, as originally planned. Ticino discovers another world. To the point of hardly knowing anyone as he had confided on his arrival.

Mattia Bottani is learning about international life.

Mattia Bottani is learning about international life.

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And then, an unusual moment on Thursday when he had to present himself to the media: the Luganese speaks neither French nor German. No worries for the Latins who could easily chat in the third national language. On the other hand, he conveyed (with ease) his first impressions to the German-speaking press in English. Unusual in the life of the national team. But it works too!


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