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The feat signed against France in the round of 16 of the Euro is already a thing of the past.

The Swiss team must ignore the emotions generated by this resounding victory in order to approach their quarter-final against Spain as well as possible on Friday at 6 p.m. in St Petersburg.

The selection of Vladimir Petkovic could not perhaps have dreamed of a better setting than the stadium of the former Imperial City to exorcise a little more his old demons. It was there that she had suffered the law of Sweden (1-0, on a goal from Forsberg in the 66th) in the round of 16 of the 2018 World Cup.

The Swiss team had then completely passed through, suffering a fifth consecutive failure at this stage of the competition in a major event. But this glass ceiling was broken Monday in Bucharest, where Yann Sommer sent Switzerland to seventh heaven by deflecting Kylian Mbappé’s penalty.

« We must continue our journey »

This feat must not go unheard of. Vladimir Petkovic and his players must have savored it, but must also have quickly put it away in the memory cabinet. Because, it should not be forgotten, they won nothing by offering themselves the scalp of the world champions, if not the hearts of many new supporters.

« We know that we must continue our journey », to offer Switzerland the first semi-final in its history in a World Cup or a Euro. « All the euphoria that has reigned in the country since the victory against France will be worth nothing if we lose the next match, » said Remo Freuler.

Don’t be inspired by Federer

Switzerland must do the hard part: confirm. Wink of fate, this quarter-final is played 20 years to the day after Roger Federer had beaten the four-time defending champion Pete Sampras in the round of 16 at Wimbledon. And for once, it will be a question of not being inspired by the greatest tennis player in history.

Because the Balois, then aged 19 years and 11 months, had not been able to manage this feat. He had come out of his bubble, responding to countless messages and requests, and hadn’t been able to move on two days later. Beaten by Tim Henman in the quarter, he still needed two more years to pick up a first major title.

Replacements in tune

Vladimir Petkovic’s troop must do everything to not have any regrets at the end of his Euro. She has the necessary maturity. The players kept claiming that they could achieve something big, that they wanted to « write history » as Granit Xhaka had hammered after the round of 16 against France on Monday.

The captain will not be on the pitch in St Petersburg on Friday. It’s a big blow. But he will certainly hold his role as a motivator wonderfully until kick-off. His replacement, probably Denis Zakaria, will then have to take over technically and tactically in the field.

Vladimir Petkovic can be calm. His choices paid off against France, the « jokers » were able to respond under the pressure. « It’s a team sport. Whoever replaces Granit will be 100% ready, » remembers Remo Freuler, aware that he himself will have greater responsibilities to take.

Shaqiri as a detonator

But if there is one man who will have to pull out all the stops on Friday on the Swiss side, it’s Xherdan Shaqiri. Author of a crucial double in the decisive match in the group stage against Turkey, the Liverpool striker did not have the same impact in the round of 16. Out of breath, he was out in the 73rd minute, 2-1 for France.

Promoted captain in the absence of Granit Xhaka, « XS » must be the custodian of the Swiss offensive game against Spain. An offensive game which ended up bending the formidable French defense, and which will have to find a way to pierce a very permeable Spanish defense in the round of 16 against Croatia (5-3 ap).

Remembrance of Durban

It will also be a question of being solid and realistic in the face of a Roja who will not be content to wait and who has found her cruising speed. After a hesitant start (0-0 against Sweden, 1-1 against Poland), coach Luis Enrique’s men scored five goals against both Slovakia (5-0) and Croatia.

« We expect to face an opponent who attacks higher and who is less passive than the French in the first half, » Christian Fassnacht rightly emphasizes.

This Spanish team is also doubly warned. On the one hand, she saw on Monday what this Swiss was capable of. On the other hand, its captain Sergio Busquets was already on the field on June 16, 2010 in Durban, where Switzerland had beaten the future Spanish world champions 1-0 on a success of Gelson Fernandes.

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