It is by showing realism and solidity in all positions that the national team has finally found its way to success in 2022. This 1-0 win bears the seal of Yakin, Omlin, Akanji and Xhaka.
- by means of
- Valentin Schnorhk
To tell the truth, there is a form of surprise. That Switzerland beat Portugal is an event in itself. But the sort of thing we were allowed to imagine not so long ago. Until recently, and frankly not convincing this month of June.
What happened on Sunday that changed everything, so that we found a national team that was more confident and in control of the games? Collective consciousness? Change of direction? Probably a little bit of all that. But here Switzerland is much quieter. In this League of Nations, where it can always hope to stay in League A, and in the preparation for the World Cup.
The Three Teachings
On Thursday, something happened at halftime between Switzerland and Spain. It is undeniable. As if Switzerland had let go and accepted to be itself. This success is largely that of Murat Yakin and his game plan braver than in previous encounters. The national team feels good when it’s busy, so it started on Sunday. This allowed him to find the error. Once was enough. And then we had to persevere. The more wait-and-see, but not passive, attitude that has made it possible to maintain this result also comes from the coach.
But it is difficult not to associate this achievement and this result with the matches of Manuel Akanji and Granit Xhaka. On the ground, Switzerland has no leader. She has two: Akanji and Xhaka are the ones who set the match times for the national team† Sometimes you have to press high, sometimes you have to wait. They make the formation of Yakin act as a whole. Without them it spreads, spreads and is no longer in control. To think big, Switzerland needs these executives.
There is a hierarchy in the goalkeeper position for Qatar. Behind Yann Sommer, Jonas Omlin wins the right to be No. 2, especially with the match he made. Al Yakin preferred not to comment (“We’ll analyze with Patrick Foletti”). And even if he missed his match in Lisbon (the 4-0 defeat), Gregor Kobel has every right to be number 3. Yvon Mvogo accompanied the group before him during these twenty days, but he seems to be outperformed despite his good recent club performances.
The best Swiss: Jonas Omlin
This is, of course, the story of a competition. But it is proof that the Montpellier goalkeeper has his place as a doppelgänger. Omlin will have made eight saves in total. It is much. Maybe too much, though acceptable against an attack like Portugal. His footwork, on the other hand, raises some doubts: he is not always in the rhythm of the action, so he had to hit a Portuguese striker who put him under pressure in the first period. But Switzerland is probably too used to Sommer in this area. Still, defenders can play with him, and it’s too important to overlook.
The worst Swiss: Breel Embolo
Perhaps it should be explained by the position he held (on the wings, alternating with Okafor), but Breel Embolo missed his match on Sunday. In total he hit only 22 balls in the 66 minutes he played. It’s very little (Okafor made 39 for a comparable playing time), which probably explains the early stables, very low, which led to certain technical fouls that could have cost Switzerland dearly. Undoubtedly proof that the Gladbach striker is an AS player and that he finds it very difficult to move forward if he is sidelined.
The tactical fact
Inevitable these first minutes of play An intentionally very high block. With a pressing that has been tested for several matches and that finally pays off: the right winger (Shaqiri in this case) putting pressure on the Portuguese left central defender, then the right side (Widmer) coming out on the opposing team’s left, at 90 meters from his own targets.
The block is particularly high, to the point that Akanji doesn’t hesitate to follow a Portuguese stable fifteen yards to the opponent’s camp. The recovery of the Swiss goal comes from there, until Widmer’s cross for Seferovic. And this attitude was in line with what was shown against Spain in the second period. A proven formula.
15, if the number of evictions of the Akanji-Elvedi pair in their area† There are 7 for the first, 8 for the second. Of which 10 in the last ten minutes. This also counts to keep a score, against the Portuguese attacks. A release is considered a defensive intervention that relieves pressure. Jonas Omlin was therefore not left to his own devices.
A question for the future
Yann Sommer excluded, did Murat Yakin find his typical team on Sunday?
For match details, click here