SportsSwitzerland Send World Champions France Packing From Euro 2020 Via Penalty Shootout

Switzerland Send World Champions France Packing From Euro 2020 Via Penalty Shootout


June 28, (THEWILL) – If the knocking out of defending European continental champions Portugal by Belgium on Thursday was a shocker, it paled in significance compared to Switzerland’s sensational 5-4 penalty elimination of world football champions France from Euro 2020.

The story of how Vladimir Petkovic’s charges came back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 and force the Round of 16 fixture into extra time before Kylian Mbappe saw his penalty saved by Yann Sommer after the first nine kicks were all scored, will be told to generations of Switzerland children for a long time.

It was not on the cards of football bookies that the star-studded French team will be on the losing side in this particular tie and the remarkable victory marks Switzerland’s first major quarter final entry since 1954.


France, on the other hand, must rethink how they came up well short especially as they were considered heavy favourites to lift the trophy coming into Euro 2020. The return of goal poacher Karim Benzema, Olivier Giroud’s knack for significant goals and Kylian Mbappe’s prolific form in front of goal were combined with a midfield powerhouse of N’Golo Kanté and Paul Pogba to make them a true force of nature.

However, on Monday night, on what proved to be an incredible night of drama, the Swiss Haris Seferovic opened the scoring against the French, a quarter of an hour into the R16 tie. His majestic header placed the ball firmly away from the stretch of Hugo Lloris, in the French goal.

Although not at their fluent best, Les Bleus did not stop struggling to equalise while adapting to a less familiar 3-5-2 system which Didier Deschamps decided to go with. This left France with little to show from a first 45 minutes where the Swiss deservedly were ahead when both sides went into the break.

Reverting to the standard formation at the resumption of hostilities gave France extra fluidity and turned the game on its head in the breathless space of four minutes starting from the 55th minute. It began from the French goal when Lloris heroically saved Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty to ensure the deficit did not double.

His heroics dynamised the rest of the French squad so that two minutes later, Benzema had levelled the scores with a sensational touch from an inviting Mbappe flick. Before the Swiss could recover, France edged ahead with another Benzema goal. The teamwork leading up to the goal was a beauty to watch with link up play between Benzema, Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.

Seferovic, however, demonstrated that what Benzema could do, so could he when he nodded in his second of the game nine minutes from time. The testy final minutes of regulation time were similar to the first R16 match played earlier between Spain and Croatia because substitute Mario Gavranovic forced the match into extra-time with a brilliant last-gasp shot into the bottom corner for a 3-all finish.

If that was as far as Switzerland went, they could have been seen as heroes who fought valiantly against the world champions and lost, but they refused to surrender. Les Bleus had chances to win it but could not find the telling finish and the final resort, when goals did not come, was a penalty shootout.

Of all the kicks taken, it turned out to be Mbappe who could not beat Sommer, the Swiss goalie, as the keeper guessed right and held out a strong hand to not only keep Mbappe’s penalty out but qualify his country for the quarter-finals at the expense of France.

As the favourites head home, Switzerland will now meet Spain in the last eight on Friday evening for a chance to continue their fairy tale continental competition.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More like this

ICPC Declares Immigration Officer Wanted For Job Racketeering

March 22, (THEWILL) – The Independent Corrupt Practices...

NISS Trains Farmers, Extension Agents On Soil Management

March 22, (THEWILL) – No fewer than thirty...

Buhari Presides Over FEC Meeting

March 22, (THEWILL) – President Muhammadu Buhari on...