Switzerland stunned Portugal with a 1-0 win in the Nations League.
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This was Switzerland’s first win over Portugal since 2016 when they beat them 2-0 at St. Jakob-Park in Basel. Incredibly four starters still remain from that side (and another starter was a sub that day), and one of them scored the only goal of the game.
Less than a minute into the game a gorgeous reverse pass from Xherdan Shaqiri (who would have played in 2016 but he was injured and is also somehow still only 30) released Silvan Widmer down the right.
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Widmer was a sub back in 2016, coming off the bench to replace Stephan Lichtsteiner, started today and lifted in a gorgeous first-time cross to Haris Seferovic.
The Benfica striker beat Joao Cancelo in the air and guided a beautifully deft header into the far corner of the net beyond the despairing dive of Rui Patricio to give Switzerland a shock early lead.
Seferovic’s strike was his first goal of 2022 for club and country (he last scored for Benfica on December 19, 2021). Moreover it was his first goal for the national side since he scored against France in Switzerland’s shock Euro 2020 win.
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Quite incredibly Switzerland managed to hold onto their slender lead for the entire rest of the game, thanks in part to a phenomenal defensive display from Nico Elvedi, denying Portugal the point they needed to stay joint-top of Nations League League A Group 2.
Nico Elvedi's game by numbers vs. Portugal:
89% pass accuracy
8 clearances (most)
3 tackles made (=most)
3 interceptions (=most)
2 blocked shots (most)
A rock at the back. 🪨 pic.twitter.com/bbpLD3nv2o
— Squawka (@Squawka) June 12, 2022
As it is, Portugal slip down to second now, with games away to the Czech Republic and a home tie against the new group leaders Spain due in September. It marks a miserable end to what had otherwise been a positive summer of football for the Portuguese men.
And while Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence can often hinder the flowing nature of Portugal’s play it feels significant that the one game he didn’t play was the one game they lost. No Ronaldo, no party?