Euro 2016: Set pieces alone not enough for Switzerland to upset France

A win would see Switzerland grab top spot in the group from France, a team that happens to be vulnerable to set pieces.

Lille | Updated: June 19, 2016 10:42 am
Euro 2016, euro cup, switzerland vs france, Switzerland vs France, France vs Switzerland, swiss, Football Switzerland play host nation France in their final Group A match on Sunday. (Source: Reuters)

Set pieces have so far brought Switzerland four points at the European Championship and a likely place in the round of 16.

But as coach Vladimir Petkovic made clear on Saturday, it will take a lot more than that to beat host nation France in their final Group A match on Sunday.

Though forwards like Haris Seferovic and Xherdan Shaqiri have had chances in open play, both of Switzerland’s goals so far at Euro 2016 have come from corners kicks, in a 1-0 win against Albania and a 1-1 draw with Romania.

“I don’t think (set pieces) will be enough,” Petkovic said through a translator, a day before his team can guarantee its place in the knockout stages for the first time.

“There are other aspects of the game that will be important, too,” Petkovic added. “We need to be well organized, compact, run a great deal, and have a lot of desire to play football.”

Switzerland will secure a spot in the last 16 with a draw, and could even afford to lose. The four best third-place teams will also go through.

A win, though, would see the Swiss grab top spot in the group from France, a team that happens to be vulnerable to set pieces.

“Yes, they tend to score a lot from set pieces, we can use this as a good test,” France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said. “In the friendly games we had a few problems in that area, but we’ve got better. Free kicks usually involve aerial challenges and that’s down to the individual and the aggression he puts into a challenge.”

According to Petkovic, France is “the favorite for the group, and also the favorite for the competition as a whole.”

“We can see how much pressure there has been on the French team from the media,” the Switzerland coach said. “They have done very well in terms of results and their way of playing. But we want to show that we are equally great.”

Switzerland doesn’t have fond memories of playing its neighbor at major competitions.

They have met once before at a European Championship in 2004 in Portugal, when France won 3-1. More recently, Switzerland was routed 5-2 at the World Cup in Brazil two years ago.

Aiming for revenge, however, was not on the minds of the Swiss team.

“The teams are different, and you learn from such a defeat,” Switzerland midfielder Blerim Dzemaili said. “If we are better than two years ago, we’ll see tomorrow.”

Even if winning is not a must, Switzerland is eager to get the most out of the match. A good result against France would give the team a lift ahead of the knockout stage.

“France has a lot of individual quality and plays well as a team,” Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka said. “But for us, it’s good if we can annoy the big teams a bit.”

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  1. C
    Jun 19, 2016 at 10:48 pm
    So many calls clearly in favor of France. And lot's of non calls against France. No, there's no bias in the Eurocup (yes that is sarcastic.
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