France aims to turn things up a notch with a ruthless performance against a tricky Switzerland side in their Round of 16 Euro 2020 clash today. They were unable to do so, instead suffering a shocking 3-3 (4-5) loss on penalty shootout after a highly entertaining game – with Switzerland progressing to book a quarter-final clash against Spain on Friday!
It was Switzerland who started the game on the front-foot and got the lead in the 15th minute when Haris Seferovic rose highest to direct a superb header into the bottom corner to make it 1-0!
France were outplayed by the Swiss in the first half and looked to be surprisingly out of rhythm – as they headed into the break knowing a lot of work needs to be done to turn around the deficit. Switzerland started the second half by far the more dangerous side and got a penalty in the 53rd minute – which Hugo Lloris managed to save – keeping France in the game!
That was the exact trigger that France needed to find their swagger. Their top-scorer Karim Benzema stepped up to the plate and scored 2 goals in the space of 3 minutes from the 57th-59th. The first one was a moment of brilliance – as Benzema flicked a pass past a defender and into his path to coolly score over the goalkeeper. He then headed in from an open range to complete the comeback in the 59th.
Paul Pogba then came up with a special goal – beautifully powering the ball into the top corner in the 75th minute to make it 3-1. Just then, Switzerland decided to start something special – as Seferovic rose high to score another header in the 81st to make it 3-2! And just like Croatia in the Spain clash – Switzerland also completed their comeback as Mario Gavranovic powered the ball into the back of the net in the 90th minute – making it 3-3!
Just like the other game, this round of 16 clash also moved into extra time. However, neither side was able to break the deficit in the extra-time – meaning this was going to penalties! Against all odds, the Switzerland players all converted their penalties and Kylian Mbappe missed his decisive penalty to hand the Swiss a place in the quarter-finals – with France facing a shocking elimination from the Euros!
Here are France player ratings vs Switzerland.
France Player Ratings vs Switzerland
Didier Deschamps (4.0) –
Deschamps took things for granted and was made to pay for it. He experimented with an unnecessary 3-man backline to start the game – giving Switzerland confidence from the get-go to attack them. Made a few switches here and there to try improving things – something that did work as France scored 3 goals in the second half!
But Deschamps’ game management and substitutions were extremely poor. Subbing out the influential Griezmann made no sense – while Kingsley Coman’s sub was also wasted. Couldn’t motivate his boys to go for the win in extra-time and even on penalties, some of his specialities were on the bench.
His defensive set-up today was poor & vulnerable – something which Switzerland pounced on perfectly. Deschamps just couldn’t implement the same winning mentality he did in the World Cup knockout games in 2018. Compared to then, his tactics were too negative and he tried holding back this excellent French side – which eventually came back to haunt him. Could end up being replaced as manager after this.
Hugo Lloris (5.0) –
The French captain rose up to the task to produce the crucial penalty save to deny Ricardo Rodriguez, brilliantly diving to his right & make that impressive low save. Influenced France to fight back after that and score 3 goals – but he couldn’t really do much to save Switzerland’s two late goals.
After his heroics in normal time, he failed to turn up in the penalty shootouts and couldn’t even save a single attempt. Disappointing showing from the French captain.
Benjamin Pavard (4.0) –
Pavard started the game a bit ruggedly and could’ve perhaps closed down Steven Zuber better to deny him from putting in the cross for the opener. Got twisted around by Zuber early in the second half and then made a poor challenge on him to concede the cheap penalty which thankfully for him was saved.
After being embarrassed by Zuber in normal time – he lost his nerve in extra-time and got booked – meaning Pavard will miss the next game if France qualify. Got into the box in the 94th and even managed a shot that was saved well by Yan Sommer. Pavard was exploited really well by Switzerland and really struggled against their fiery attacks.
Raphael Varane (5.0)-
Varane got a big scoring chance in the 2nd minute itself through a corner – but put a free header over the goal! Doesn’t look too comfortable defending against Switzerland’s pace early on. Makes a big interception in the 49th to deny Switzerland a potential second. Couldn’t get ahead of Seferovic to deny him for his second. Should, however, have closed down Gavranovic better to deny his strike.
Somewhat makes up with a clutch clearance to deny Switzerland a goal in the 98th. Probably the pick of the French defenders on the day – but even his performance came with a few errors.
Clement Lenglet (3.0) –
The Barcelona centre-back gets a surprising start and made his coach regret it, as Seferovic bullied & outmuscled him inside the are to score the opener too easily. Unsurprisingly subbed out at half-time after a poor performance filled with unnecessary errors.
Presnel Kimpembe (4.5) –.
Kimpembe seemingly twisted his ankle early on but played through the pain to help his side. Reverted to a left-back role before the end of the first half. And then again reverts back to a centre-back role in the second half. Almost invited disaster in the 49th after allowing Switzerland to bring the ball into the box but thankfully their final decision-making was poor. Completely lost track of Seferovic for his second.
His aggressiveness and lack of discipline cost France at times, as Kimpembe was caught out of position many times. Maybe that early knock had an ill effect on his performance.
Adrien Rabiot (4.5) –
The versatile midfielder is operating as a left wing-back today. Got into the box really well in the 22nd but his delivery wasn’t converted by anyone. Then powers a thunderous attempt wide of target in the 28th. Tried another long-ranger in the 83rd – to see it go miles over as well. Very lucky not to play Gavranovic onside for his disallowed goal in the 85th. Really struggled in a makeshift left-back role that limited his skillset.
Paul Pogba (8.5) –
France’s most influential player of the group stages opes to bring his impressive form into the knockouts. Only created one prominent chance that was ruled out because of off-side in the first half and couldn’t do much to help France stamped their authority in the half. Burst into life after the break and showcased impressive close control & vision to spot out Mbappe for his chance before the equalizer.
Then played an even better through ball that sliced through the Swiss defence in the 67th – but unable to see Mbappe convert it. After that, he says ‘I’ll do it myself’ and produces a Pogba special – beautifully curling a shot into the top corner from well outside the penalty area. After an excellent second half, he kind of spoilt things by losing the ball resulting in Switzerland’s third.
Almost made up by setting up a big scoring chance for Mbappe in extra-time with a delightful through ball that cut open the entire Swiss defence – only to see him scuff it. Then played a gorgeous pass to help create another attack in the 114th.
Almost every prominent attacking moves came through Pogba, as he created a lot of chances & bossed the show for France. Scored a fantastic penalty to kick off the penalty shootout for France and capped off an excellent performance on a high note.
N’Golo Kante (5.5) –
The ‘three-lung’ midfielder looked a bit confused with his role in the first half – getting into wrong positions and losing the midfield battle against Granit Xhaka. Not doing much to create chances either. Worked hard all through the game and his bursting energy helped move France forward – but the Chelsea man was outperformed by Xhaka today.
Antoine Griezmann (7.5) –
A really bright start from Griezmann – creating a few early chances including the Varane one. Trying his best to get things done even as his teammates seem a bit sluggish. Tries a shot from afar in the 47th – only to see it go wide. Played a lovely one-two with Mbappe inside the box before watching his shot saved in the 59th – before Benzema headed into an open net from the rebound.
Created 4 chances and seemed to thrive in that free role – moving all over to create spaces for his forwards. Another efficient, hard-working performance.
Kylian Mbappe (3.0) –
The PSG star is causing huge problems from the get-go with his pace and tricky movement. But he was very disappointing on the ball in the first half – being unable to create anything or get proper shots on goal. Blasted a shot barely wide of the target in the 56th – but then sets up Benzema’s strike a minute later. Played a nice one-two with Griezmann to help him set up Benzema’s second.
Went quiet after that short blitz – getting his next scoring chance in the 109th minute when his shot went wide. Then got an even better chance few minutes later after being played through on goal – but struck a botched left-footed shot into the side-netting. Ends a very poor game with a horrific penalty which eliminates France from the competition. Golden boy, no more.
Karim Benzema (9.0) –
Benzema got a decent chance in the 5th minute after Griezmann’s cross found him inside the box – but saw the ball cleared before he could get a shot in. Came alive in the second half and produced a fantastic equalizer, incredibly flicking the ball past a defender to set up his own clever dink over the goalkeeper. Then heads the ball into an open goal minutes later.
The Real Madrid man did whatever possible to get France over the line – only for them to bottle a strong lead in normal time. Proved his class with his goals & apart from those, his link-up play and movement were threatening too. Subbed in extra-time after suffering a knock.
Kingsley Coman (5.5) –
Added a bit more energy to Spain’s attack after coming on. Powered a shot straight at the goalkeeper in the 74th. Lost possession and allowed the cross to be swung in from the right for Seferovic’s second. Almost became France’s hero in the last kick of normal time – but his thumping strike hit the bar! Suffered an injury in extra-time and forced to be subbed out.
Moussa Sissoko (5.0) –
Sissoko was brought on to help France get over the line in normal time – but was unable to do so. Blasted a shot over from outside the area in the 101th – wasting a chance.
Olivier Giroud (N/R) –
Giroud got his first real scoring chance in the 114th but his shot from inside the area hit Mbappe before going wide. Then got another in the 119th – but his header was held on by the goalkeeper.
Marcus Thuram (N/R) –
Converted his penalty in the shootout extremely well.
MAN OF THE MATCH
A lot of players shined through today. Benzema & Pogba both were excellent for France. But Granit Xhaka embodied the fighting spirit of Switzerland, helped them take the fight to France and eventually inspired them to get the win. He get’s my MOTM today.