Wow. It has certainly been a while since my last post, eh?
There has been so much going on in the world of football since my last post those many months ago. would you have imagined back in September the events since? Chelsea paying £50 million for Torres to score one goal? Four Clasico matches in as many weeks? FC Luzern’s rise and fall from grace after leading the Super League? Of course, there were also the more predictable events such as Barcelona’s Champions League victory, Ibrahimovic’s eighth consecutive league-winners’ medal, and FC Basel’s capturing of the Super League. Significantly, my affections for Roma have finally worn off, and I chose to join my family and support AC Milan full-time for about 7 months now…a decision my family thought was inevitable, even years ago.
Since then, qualification to the UEFA Euro 2012 couldn’t look any more challenging for the Swiss. Before this afternoon’s match, Switzerland were in third place in their group, 6 points behind joint-leaders England and Montenegro, after four rounds. Not over yet, but not too great either.
A point of discussion however was also the announcement by veteran strikers Alex Frei and Marco Streller to call time on their international playing career. Where some believed it to reduce Switzerland’s already weak goal-scoring opportunities, many more believed that it was long overdue that the two Basel forwards, of whom came under critiscm following some below-par preformances for der Nati, pass on the mantle and allow younger players to carry on the Swiss cause.
Onto the match:
I referred to this match as Capello vs. Hitzfeld – undoubtedly two of the greatest managers ever.
Well, what a game it was. Clearly, Switzerland went into the match as under-dogs, but guess what, they opened a two-goal lead, courtesy of a pair of free-kicks by Leverkuesen’s Barnetta. It was a shame that England were able to pull back a goal so quickly after the second, and I guess we all knew that with just a goal in it, the English were destined to find that equalizer.
A few thoughts:
I thought that overall the Swiss played much better than England. Possesion was virtually even, 52-48 in favour of the English, but the Swiss were the ones to make most of it – clearly showing that our link up play has dramatically improved since the last time we played the Three Lions. Credit has to be given to the midfield, which has improved loads over the past couple of matches…with particular praise going to Barnetta and Inler.
Set pieces, of course, was also an area of improvement as both goals were scored by Barnetta – who missed the last encounter with England due to a fever.
Benaglio the goalkeeper, though suffering a bad season with Wolfsburg in Germany, seems to have regained his confidence in front of goal for der Nati as well, making some decisive saves and runs.
Another great thing to see was Senderos playing well after missing out on virtually all of last season due to injury – he provided great cover in the midst of…well…you’ll see…
The defence and attack. Jeez.
Once again, our forwards lacked the final touch and shots. The midfield was superb. But once the necessary service was delivered to the forwards, once again they were absent. Is this down to the form of the players? Or is it due to Hitzfeld’s odd selection of forwards? Either way, if we stand a chance to qualify for the Euro, our strikers need to score.
Secondly…Djourou…(face-palm). What a horrid game. Giving away that penalty, and that border-line tackle early in the second half. I think the less said about it the better. Thank goodness that Senderos was on form for this one, or we could have really been in trouble.
Anyone else notice how the ref seemed to be in the way of Switzerland’s possesion? He seemed to constantly position himself in a way that made it awkward for the Swiss to pass the ball.
Certainly if we areto qualify for Euro 2012, this draw is certainly a step in the right direction. It’s a far-cry from the humiliation against England in September and that appaulling 0-0 draw vs. Bulgaria back in March. If the attack can somehow find confidence, we may just turn the results in our favour, and pull off a surprise…even for ourselves.
ONE LAST POINT:
I’d like to announce that I have started my own blog about all things Swiss including sports, history, culture.
I’d be very grateful if you guys could pay a visit
Keep sending in those comments!
More Switzerland News
So, we lost 3:1 after I had predicted earlier that we were in for a low-score draw with Wayne Rooney to do poorly…oh baby, how I got that one wrong.
Before we go on, let’s take a look at the goals:
Well, not too much to say here…
I actually think we played pretty alright before Stéphane Lichtsteiner got sent off for a ... [read more]
Going into this match, the football itself is not actually the main focus in the news, rather it is the allegations surronding Wayne Rooney’s private life…and quite frankly, I can’t stand this bu77$h!t.
For those of you not yet up to speed, long story short: two British tabloid newspapers have reported that Wayne Rooney had allegedly visited a prostitute repeatedly during ... [read more]
…and thanks to a relapse of a fever, Tranquillo Barnetta will not be able to take part in Switzerland’s crucial qualifier against England.
As if having a team without Yakin was bad enough, are other staar-player withdraws.
Marco Padalino of Sampdoria has been called up instead.
Keep sending in those comments!
... [read more]
FC Luzern captain Hakan Yakin has picked up a muscle injury to his right leg suffered during the 1-1 draw against FC Thun in the AXPO Super League.
This puts him out of both matches against Australia (friendly match) and England (UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier).
FC Zürich’s Xavier Margairaz has been called up to ... [read more]
Swiss national team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has announced a 21-man list to face Australia in an international friendly match that will take place on September 3rd in Sankt Gallen, and England in their opening UEFA 2012 European Championships which will be played on September 7th in Basel.
…and one club in particular seems to have seen a surge in call-ups:
Show your support for Switzerland
by wearing a national team jersey
just like the players wear.
a Switzerland World Cup jersey today!
Club Football News
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The people who whip up these fancy second-tier finals (UEFA. They're called UEFA.) concocted a nice little PR thingamajig by pairing one fan from Benfica and one fan from Chelsea with a top notch freestyler in a race through Amsterdam to the Arena. They would hope to determine a winner ...
Yakin suffers injury...Margairaz called up.
Margairaz is legend. A true LegenD. .. .
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