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Rediff.com  » Sports » Canny Switzerland provide blueprint to beat Germany

Canny Switzerland provide blueprint to beat Germany

June 24, 2024 20:43 IST
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IMAGE: Germany's Niclas Fullkrug scores their equalizing goal in the dying minutes of the game. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Germany left it late against Switzerland to secure a point which ensured they progress to the last 16 of Euro 2024 as group winners, though their well-drilled opponents demonstrated an effective means of nullifying the host nation's talented side.

Switzerland sat deep from the outset to frustrate Germany's attacking players and, though Jamal Musiala showed glimpses of his ability to break the lines, the Swiss largely succeeded until substitute Niclas Fuellkrug's 92nd-minute equaliser.

Kai Havertz, initially leading the attack, spurned a number of half chances and defender Antonio Rudiger should have done better with a first-half header but Germany, who had a goal disallowed at 0-0, had few clear opportunities until late on.

Germany dominated possession, with 66% of the ball according to Opta, completed more than double the number of passes Switzerland managed and had 18 shots on goal -- though only three of those were on target.

IMAGE: Germany players celebrate following the late goal that rescued a point against Switzerland. Photograph: Thilo Schmuelgen/Reuters

The Swiss, meanwhile, were clinical: Dan Ndoye's acrobatic volley put away either side's best chance in the first half, and he nearly doubled the lead immediately afterwards, outmuscling Rudiger but shooting just wide.

Switzerland could have sealed top spot in Group A themselves late on as Ruben Vargas had the ball in the net in the 84th minute but had strayed offside before captain Granit Xhaka drew a full-length dive from Manuel Neuer to keep it at 1-0.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann -- who for the third time named the same starting 11 -- is a big fan of Havertz, but the fact an old-school number 9 like Fuellkrug saved the day may prompt calls for the side to have a clear focal point up front. Ultimately, Germany have progressed to the knockout stages with an unbeaten record at the top of Group A.

The irony, however, is that it means they may face a side better suited to replicating Switzerland's game plan.

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Source: REUTERS
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