After an unfortunate defeat to Belgium on Friday night, the Schweizer Nati are eager to get back to winning ways when they face Iceland in Reykjavik. A 2-1 loss was a shame, but we saw a good Swiss performance against the joint top-ranked team in the world. However, there is no time to ponder on the defeat, as Switzerland prepare for Iceland.
Last time these two met in September it was completely one-sided. Switzerland demolished Iceland 6-0 in the opening Nations League match, as the Vikings stood no chance. That result in St. Gallen means that the Schweizer Nati remain unbeaten against Iceland, with seven wins and one 4-4 draw.
With Iceland bottom of the table with zero goals scored and nine conceded, it is fair to assume that Switzerland will maintain their unbeaten record. We can also expect goals in Monday’s game- there have been 24 goals in their seven meetings, 19 of them courtesy of the Swiss.
I was surprised to see Vladimir Petković deploy a 4-4-1-1 formation in Brussels, and as per usual I am sticking with our traditional 4-2-3-1 that has served us so well.
My only defensive change from Friday’s starting eleven is the return of Manuel Akanji, who was ruled out of the game at the last minute due to a ‘thigh pain’. According to a statement by the Schweizer Fussballverband (SFV), he was left out to avoid unnecessary risks, and he is “quite likely” to play on Monday night.
The midfield remains the same, but I am bringing in Remo Freuler as the attacking midfielder after a good outing on Friday. I think he had a good game, and is one of our strongest options to fill in for the injured Breel Embolo.
Upfront, I once again prefer Mario Gavranović to Haris Seferović. Although I went with the latter for the Belgium game, a crucial goal and a good game has given Gavranović the nod for me. He continues to impress me, and I am hoping that the confidence from his goal on Friday will pay off when we face Iceland.
To put it simply, we need to win. Belgium now sit three points ahead of us, and we must catch up with them before our meeting next month in Luzern. Switzerland need the win to stand a chance of qualifying for the Nations League Finals in June. It may be hard due to the home advantage for the Vikings, but Switzerland have a fantastic away record, winning six of their last eight competitive matches on the road.
On the other hand, defeat for Iceland will see them officially relegated down to League B, as they wouldn’t be able to make up the six point gap with one game to play. They need a win to stand a chance of survival, but against a Switzerland side who shipped six past them in the reverse fixture, what chance do they realistically stand? Roll on Monday.
My prediction: Iceland 0-3 Switzerland