One last game yet. Then the year of the international match is over. Switzerland vs. Belgium is called Attractive Affiche. Will there be reconciliation? Or are the debates about the quality of the Swiss team and his coach entering suddenly in time of injury? This is more than a good result in this match against the third World Cup. To understand this, it is worth looking back.
It's been a year since the Barge between Switzerland and Northern Ireland. It was the beginning of a troubled time. The whistle against Haris Seferovic overshadowed the World Cup qualifier in Switzerland. The tears were flowing. And Switzerland wondered: what is the relationship between people and their footballers?
In retrospect, maybe it's time for something to lose. It is still unclear what this has done. National team achievements? Hard. A more successful series than in 2017 has never been there. Striker Seferovic himself? He wanted to bite here and there – but where was this storm of indignation just because of missed opportunities? Puzzles can stay forever.
The emphasis was lost
The year 2018 starts well for Switzerland. Two wins in March. Preparing for the World Cup is in line with the plan. It was not lost in Spain. Opening match against Brazil – also 1-1. A first high point of exclamation. Now it is believed that coronation is required. First time in a quarter-finals in modern football.
But it happens differently. Year 2018, when Swiss footballers wanted to make history, will be the year of crash. After the big victory against Serbia, the double jungle eagle is at the center of attention. The accent is lost, the World Cup knockout round against Sweden is disastrous. And, as if a source of fire was needed, Secretary-General Alex Miescher (now forced to resign) is launching a discussion on whether double Swiss citizens will be acceptable in the future.
In just a few weeks, it seems that Swiss football is shuffling. The desire for communication between national coach Vladimir Petkovic and Valon Behrami strengthens this impression even more. Behrami resigns. And Petkovic is calling for the autumn experimentation.
The bright start
The focus is on the question: can Switzerland do without players such as Captain Lichtsteiner, Behrami, Djourou, Dzemaili and Gelson Fernandes? The League of Nations should provide answers to this.
The prelude is brilliant. 6-0 against Iceland. So much intoxication as rare. But the strange round of the World Cup can not be digested alone with a quick night. However, Petkovic is a very important victory. Never, since taking office, in the summer of 2014, has been under greater pressure than this autumn.
On the one hand, it is about sports issues. Still getting to the team? Is he transmitting his messages? Is it able to develop a B or C plan? On the other hand, it is also the external effect. What national coach does Switzerland need? More specifically: Petkovic manages to turn the national coach, humorous, but often misunderstood. . . – Yeah, how should he be?
Petkovic is certainly one thing: he himself. He does not pretend. He has his principles. And make them smile. Someone often has the feeling that he does not care at all how people perceive him in TV halls. And maybe it will be his problem very soon.
After months of steady victory, the results have worsened recently. Iceland remains the exception. Four defeats in the last six matches are now in the balance. Against England (0: 1) and Belgium (1: 2), impressions remain ambiguous. Neither performances nor results protect Petkovic without restrictions. In the background, former FCB Heusler and Heitz heads work on examining the association's structures and external representation. Therefore, it could be followed by exciting weeks.
Their appearance against Belgium on Sunday is so suddenly of paramount importance to Petkovic. It will be a kind of graduation certificate for his team. After losing anyway in Qatar. The year was so turbulent that you really want only one thing: breathe deeply.