EURO 2020 Preview: France vs Switzerland, Can The Swiss Pull Off The Impossible?

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World Champions France haven’t played like one so far in this competition. France needs to find their feet quickly if they plan to move past Switzerland in the round of 16. Managing only a goal in their first victory against a weakened German side was perhaps excused as a slow start. However, draws against Hungary and Portugal were less than what was expected from one of the most talented squads in the competition.

 

 

Despite featuring at least one world-class player in every position, France was unable to exert its dominance in any of these matches. They did top the group, but they are the worst group leaders in terms of points earned across all six groups. Although Switzerland might not be much of a challenge, France needs to put up a better performance than they have done so far.

Every team that has recently faced Italy has had to deal with a loss. So, a loss against the group leaders might not be too demoralising. A draw against a Wales side brimming with confidence earned them a crucial point. Xherdan Shaqiri’s inspiring performance against Turkey in the final group match was enough to earn them a berth in the knockouts. However, their campaign might not go any further as they take on the World Champions and European runners up.

 

TEAM NEWS

Unlike their opposition Switzerland, France has to deal with a number of injury concerns. However, with a squad that has surplus world-class talent in each position, there isn’t much need to worry about. Didier Deschamps has more than one option to choose from. Adrien Rabiot picked up an injury in the last match but should be back to full fitness before the knockouts. Lucas Hernandez might not be available and Leo Dubois might have to take his place.

 

 

FRANCE PROBABLE XI Lloris; Dubois, Kimpembe, Varane, Pavard; Pogba, Kante, Rabiot; Griezmann, Benzema, Mbappe

 

Switzerland does not have any pressing injury concerns and should be able to feature their best line-up against France. Steven Zuber will hope to keep his place in the squad after an exceptional performance in the last match. Hence Ricardo Rodriguez might slip into the defensive role. Kevin Mbapu will also return to the line-up.

 

 

SWITZERLAND PROBABLE XI- Sommer; Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez; Mbapu, Xhaka, Freuler, Zuber; Shaqiri, Seferovic, Embolo

 

GAME CHANGERS

has been the subject of heavy marking in every fixture so far. This unlikely to change and thus the young forward is unable to make the sort of impact he was expected to make. Karim Benzema, his compatriot upfront has had to step up and his two goals against Portugal were vital to keeping the top spot in the group. Benzema’s long-awaited return to the national team will likely give him the extra motivation he needs to perform even better in this campaign.

 

 

Paul Pogba’s performance in the deep areas will also be key, but goals win matches and none in blue does it better than the Real Madrid forward. Benzema’s ability to create chances and to break down opposition lines will also be crucial. With Griezmann and Mbappe in support, finding a goal shouldn’t be a behemoth task.

 

XHERDAN SHAQIRI

Liverpool’s dormant winger never fails to find his feet when he hones the national team jersey. Mostly used as a second-choice or as a substitute in the Premier League, the Swiss international is one of the key men for his national side. An inspiring performance against Turkey that involved two outstanding goals helped the Swiss qualify for the knockout stages.

 

 

Shaqiri’s involvement will be crucial if Switzerland hopes to find a way past France. There’s too much quality in the French side and Switzerland and Shaqiri will need to be at their very best. Shaqiri has a lot to prove after not being able to impact in the Premier League as much as he’d like to. Another jaw-dropping goal against France might just do the trick.

 

PREDICTIONS

There’s no doubt as to who the favourites are heading into the match. France will likely find a way past Switzerland. Although Switzerland is capable of making life hard for the Les Bleus, we do not believe they have what it takes to beat them.

FootTheBall predicts France 2-1 Switzerland.

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