The game: 1-0
Convinced of having constituted “the best Swiss national team that has ever existed”Murat Yakin spoke “to write history” in Qatar. We cannot say that the Nati impressed for their entry into the running against Cameroon on Thursday, far from it. She even frankly suffered in the first period, physically and tactically dominated by Lions that we would not have thought tamable. But in the absence of a show, she showed realism: alone in the area when receiving a cross from Xherdan Shaqiri at the start of the second period, Breel Embolo did not tremble (48th). And his goal, which he did not celebrate (see below), was enough for the happiness of the Swiss, the first leaders of the group G before the clash between Brazil and Serbia (8 p.m.).
This shot from the Monaco striker was the first on target by the Nati, and there were only two others after that, signed Shaqiri (66th) and Granit Xhaka (89th). André Onana did what was necessary to preserve his team’s chances, but to no avail as the Lions gradually lost the thread after a promising opening 45 minutes, drifting into a false rhythm. Like his Yakin counterpart, Rigobert Song was ambitious and he may harbor regrets. Voluntary, his players lacked skill in the last gesture in their highlight, like Karl Toko Ekambi (10th) or Eric Choupo-Moting (14th). Silvan Widmer also narrowly intervened at the feet of Toko Ekambi in the 35th minute, on the verge of a fault.
The player: Embolo, hero in spite of himself
Born in Yaoundé, Breel Embolo grew up in Switzerland but he still has many ties to Cameroon, and he has long postponed the choice of his selection. The luck of the draw having put his Nati on the road to the Indomitable Lions, he had announced that he would not show his joy if he came to score on Thursday, and he kept his word. But the story of this match will inevitably remain linked to his, because it was he who unlocked it in the 48th minute, with the right foot. Quite inspired in his movements, he could have offered himself a double without a nice defensive gesture from André-Frank Zambo Anguissa in the 67th.
Embolo has scored in each of his last three competitive matches with Switzerland (twice in the Nations League in September, once in the World Cup on Thursday), his best series of its kind with the Nati.