Switzerland had to wait a day to find out that it had qualified for the round of 16 of the European Championship.
That’s nothing compared to his 67-year wait for a quarterfinal in a major football tournament.
Switzerland beat Turkey 3-1 to finish third in Group A on Sunday, but took losses to Ukraine and Finland on Monday to guarantee the Swiss a place in the round of 16 as one of the top four teams in third place. Euro 2020
Players followed other games over the Internet from their plane as they flew from Azerbaijan to Italy to train for the next round and had what striker Breel Embolo called a “small reception” at the hotel to celebrate.
“Eighteen finals, here we come,” Embolo told Swiss television SRF on Tuesday. “We all felt happy because it was clear that we had achieved our minimum goal.”
The round of 16 is where things get complicated for Switzerland. The team lost at this stage at the World Cups in 2014 and 2018 and at Euro 2016. Going to the same stage will again put them in a similar category as Mexico, which came out in the last 16 of seven consecutive World Cups. The conversation about the alleged curse of “quinto partido” – the elusive fifth game – occurs every four years.
The last time Switzerland reached the quarterfinals was at home to the 1954 World Cup, an impressive 7-5 loss to neighboring Austria, which still holds the record for the most successful game in the tournament’s history.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s two goals helped Switzerland win over Turkey, easing pressure on coach Vladimir Petkovic, who has been criticized for his team’s lack of creativity in an earlier 3-0 loss to Italy. He has been in Switzerland since 2014. making him the third longest-serving coach on any team in the tournament.
The victory solidified Shakiri’s status as a major player in Switzerland in tournaments, even after a club season in Liverpool, where he was often on the periphery. He scored a hat-trick against Honduras at the 2014 World Cup, a strike on the country against Poland in 2016 and the winning goal in a heated match against Serbia in 2018.
Switzerland will have to wait a little longer to find out who they are playing in the quarterfinals. The Euro 2020 category will not be finalized until the final groups finish on Wednesday.