D.he world champion is out – and how! Tournament favorite France failed on Monday evening in a thrilling and turbulent round of 16 despite a 3-1 lead in the meantime against Switzerland, which never gave up. The Swiss won 5: 4 on penalties after they had saved themselves through a chase to 3: 3 (1: 0) after regular time in overtime.
After Haris Seferovic’s goal (15th minute) for Switzerland, Karim Benzema (57th and 59th) initially turned the game around within a very short time. Paul Pogba also scored from a distance (75th). But again Seferovic (81st) and Mario Gavranovic (90th) forced the extension in Bucharest. Kylian Mbappé failed with the last penalty for France at Mönchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
The Equipe Tricolore now has to watch when the Confederates contest their first quarter-finals of a European or World Cup since 1954 on Friday. Spain is waiting in St. Petersburg. From the former group F, after defending champion Portugal and world champion France, only the German national team remained in the tournament.
“Now everyone knows Switzerland”
“I’m very proud of us, of the whole team. The French were strong, but they had a moment when they got a little arrogant. We said to ourselves that we would try everything to the end. That we have now managed to do that is simply unbelievable. Incredible, “said penalty-hero Sommer. And captain Granit Xhaka said: “We were the better team for the last 30 minutes. We wanted to end it before the penalty shoot-out. But we did it, we made history for Swiss football. Now everyone knows Switzerland. “
The opponents, on the other hand, were bitter disappointment: France’s Raphael Varane said after the final whistle: “Something wasn’t enough. Should have, shouldn’t have … It will be very quiet in the cabin now. “
The 22,642 spectators in the arena created an EM atmosphere right from the start – and that supposedly without any major corona worries. According to official information, no new cases were registered in the Romanian capital on Sunday. On Monday lunchtime, numerous Swiss and French had attuned to the second round in Bucharest’s old town.
After the kick-off for Argentinian Fernando Andres Rapallini, who was the first non-European to lead a knockout game at an EM, both teams watched each other initially. France coach Didier Deschamps relied on a three-way chain. Bayern professionals Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman and Lucas Hernández were initially on the bench, Jules Koundé was injured. Against the Swiss, the system initially worked with verve and often through Kylian Mbappé, who was greedy for his first tournament goal, but without any risk of scoring.
France long too harmless
The Swiss national coach Vladimir Petkovic trusted the same starting eleven that had beaten Turkey 3-1 in the last group game – the national team had traveled to Romania with great self-confidence after the victory. The team was “ready to make history,” said Captain Granit Xhaka.
In the game, the Swiss first put themselves in the limelight and took the lead against the uninspired French. The former Frankfurt Haris Seferovic (15th) headed a cross from Eintracht professional Steven Zuber to his 23rd international goal after Clement Lenglet, the central man in the defense, had lost the decisive header duel. Seferovic then ran almost to the other side of the field to the Swiss fan block and triggered loud “Hopp Schwiiz” calls.
France reacted angrily but imprecisely. Two shots from distance within a few minutes by Mbappé (26th) and Adrien Rabiot (29th) missed the Swiss goal. But then the world champion switched back to friendly game mode: no pressure, no ideas, no commitment. So the Swiss had no trouble taking the lead into the break with their rock solid game.
The French came back with a changed formation and Coman, but initially remained unusually harmless. And then Bayern’s Benjamin Pavard made a mistake and fouled Zuber in the penalty area. Referee Rapallini gave a penalty after video evidence. But the former Wolfsburg Ricardo Rodriguez (55th) failed to France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
After that, everything went very quickly: First Benzema (57th) scored the 1: 1 on Mbappé template and two minutes later after a fine short pass in the penalty area with a head also the 2: 1. There were only four minutes and three seconds between the missed Swiss penalty and Benzema’s fourth tournament goal.
The Swiss, however, did not give up – not even after Pogba’s dreamy goal of the 3-1 lead, which for the French was only seemingly reassuring. Seferovic and Gavranovic saved the Confederates deservedly in extra time, in which Benzema was replaced early. In the extra 30 minutes, apart from one chance for Mbappé (110th), scoring chances remained in short supply.