Sommer, Akanji, Xhaka, Shaqiri and Embolo: Switzerland’s five key players against Portugal
Yann Sommer: goalkeeper, 33 years old, 79 games
He lost in the game against Serbia. Switzerland conceded two goals in this match, and it can be seen as a cause and effect relationship. First drafted in 2011, Sommer, who has been No. 1 since August 2014, has been a staple of Nati for several years. The calm, always well-positioned and toned goalkeeper, despite his modest size (1.83m), has also excelled in the air.
Kylian Mbappe’s penalty will be saved by Yann Sommer. (F. Faugère/Team)
The goalkeeper from Mönchengladbach also knows how to stop penalties. Kylian Mbappe also had the bitter experience of this in the last Euros (3-3 ap, 4-5 pen in 8), as did Jorginho in the World Cup qualifiers, whose two failures (one in the exit, the other in the return) cost Italy. Yes, we almost forgot: thanks to his goalkeeper, Nati conceded only two goals in the playoffs. No country has done better than this in the European zone.
Manuel Akanji: centre-back, 27 years old, 46 games
Last summer, Manuel Akanji left “Borussia Dortmund” and took another step to “Manchester City”. Gifted with a great sense of anticipation, tough in duels, he also provides Nati with his composure and does not hesitate to rethink to replace the players next to him. A natural boss of defence, he also knows how to attack in set pieces and he was the scorer and later the decisive assist in the Nations League win in Spain (2-1).
Manuel Akanji is in action with the National Team. (A. Réau/Team)
Less dominant since the start of the World Cup, he will be able to recall a good memory of the victory (1:0) against Portugal last June: he was the author of the move that sparked a revival in the Portuguese camp. the only goal of the match.
Granit Xhaka: midfielder, 30 years old, 110 games
The leader of Switzerland. Nati’s captain, the Arsenal midfielder, is really the guide of this selection, where he knew how to breathe a new mentality. Xhaka is not afraid of anything (just look at his fight with the Serbs last Friday), his goal is the world championship and he is not afraid to say it. Because he does not hesitate to say that he wants to play at 6 in the national team. Murat Yakin prefers to line him up in the recovery duo or as a left torcher at 8.
Granit Xhaka changed the mentality of the national team. (A. Réau/Team)
The coach does not forget that his player knows how to project himself, break the lines and score goals: in the selection, “Basel” found mistakes 12 times. With his last goal coming against Gibraltar (6-1) on 18th November 2019, Xhaka would be well pleased to end that drought this Tuesday evening.
Xherdan Shaqiri: attacking midfielder, 31, 111 games
Lyon fans may not have fond memories of him even if he scored his last goal against rivals Marseille with OL (2:1, 1 February 2022), Swiss fans are certainly taking another look at Shaqiri, the scorer of 27 goals. choice. The former Bayern Munich, Inter Milan or Liverpool player continues to impress Nati as he could now play for Chicago Fire in the MLS. Born in Kosovo, the attacking midfielder made his international debut in March 2010 at the age of 18.
Shaqiri is the sixth best scorer in the country with 27 goals. (F.Nel/Getty Images via AFP)
Two months later, he surprised everyone for the World Cup in South Africa, and this ball of muscle has often shone in major international competitions since then. During the 2014 World Cup, Shaqiri thus scored a hat-trick against Ecuador (3:0) and last Friday he even made history: he opened the score against Serbia (3:2) and became the third left-handed player, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo along with scored goals in the last three World Cups.
Breel Embolo: forward, 25, 62 games
Born in Yaounde, Cameroon, the striker hesitated for a while before opting for Swiss citizenship after his passport was withdrawn in 2015. Only a few months later, he was called up for the Euros in France and has not missed a major international since.
Once used as a midfielder for the club, the versatile Embolo has now become a complete and modern striker thanks to his strength, taste for effort and sense of finishing. The striker, who already scored in the last Euro, repeated it in this World Cup.
Now Nati’s number 1 striker, Embolo scored two important goals to the detriment of Seferovic: against Cameroon (1-0), scoring the only goal of the match, and a 2-2 draw with Serbia (3-). The final score was 2) and Murat Akin’s team was eliminated. The player of “Monaco”, who is the author of 13 achievements in the selection, can attack Portugal.
Breel Embolo after his goal against Serbia. (A. Réau/Team)