Switzerland started the European Under-21 Championship by beating England, who are among the favorite teams in the competition. To the praise of most, a few ominous birds replied that the Nati had been eliminated from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa in the group stage, after beating the future Spanish champions in their first match …
History has validated these sarcasm. Mauro Lustrinelli’s men will not see the quarter-finals of the competition, eliminated after their defeat this Wednesday against Portugal (3-0). Their performance was not flawless, but will leave less regrets than the previous setback against Croatia. So, individual errors had weighed down any chances of winning a game yet within reach. Lusitanian hopes, them, remained without the least apparent difficulty in the control. They just looked better.
It was necessary to breathe
It must also be said that Switzerland could not have started worse. The clock has only been running for 150 seconds when Vitinha finds the header of Diogo Queiros who, alone in the middle of the penalty area, can score 1-0. Did Switzerland intend, as against England, to wait for its adversary, to exhaust him, then to surprise him at the option of a counter? We’ll never know. This goal conceded early is a game-changer. Portugal, assured of its qualification for the quarter-finals whatever the result, really has no reason to discover itself.
The Nati, she knows she can not afford to lose. A draw could be enough for him, yes, if England win against Croatia in the other part of the group. Mauro Lustrinelli’s men will no doubt learn it with a little delay, but in the 12th minute of play, Eberechi Eze transforms a penalty which suits them well. If Switzerland equalized, they would be virtually on the right side of the bar.
Problem: it is far from the mark. Portugal deprives her of the ball. And when she finally gets it back, she struggles to put it to good use. Unable to change the pace. To overtake the opponent. At the heart of the game, Kastriot Imeri does not demerit but the flashes of Bastien Toma, remained on the bench, would do good. In addition to the former FC Sion player, Mauro Lustrinelli does without Andi Zeqiri, Jérémy Guillemenot or Cédric Zesiger. We do not play three matches in seven days without allowing the men to breathe, but the tauliers are a little lacking.
At their own game
At the end of the first period, the Nati manages to invite itself a little more regularly in the opposing half of the field. His timid attempts, however, remain distant and especially unfocused (a free kick from Imeri, a strike from Ndoye).
After the break, the resumption is encouraging: a little more movement, possession, danger carried in front of the opposing goal. Two corners are obtained. Badly drawn. But the Swiss are not giving up and pressing hard. Did they realize that they were going to get caught up in their own game? At the hour of play, Portugal quickly throws itself forward. In three passes, the ball reaches the feet of Francisco Trincão who only has to push it to the bottom. The blow is hard. Francisco Conceição’s 3-0 fell in stride. There are more than twenty minutes to play but hopes are extinguished.