Match report: Switzerland back to winning ways as Iceland’s relegation is confirmed

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The Swiss player’s celebrating the win. (Toto Marti, Blick)

Switzerland responded to the Belgium defeat in the perfect way as they beat Iceland 2-1 in Reykjavik, confirming the hosts’ relegation.

Goals from Haris Seferović and Michael Lang saw the Schweizer Nati come away with all three points, before Alfred Finnbogason pulled one back with a wonder strike to make the last ten minutes very tense.

Petković changed back to the more familiar 4-2-3-1, making three changes from the Belgium loss on Friday night. This included a senior debut for goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo, coming in for first choice Yann Sommer who was being rested along with left-back Ricardo Rodríguez. Mvogo ended up having a fantastic debut, making many key saves.

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Yvon Mvogo had an excellent senior debut, making many pivotal saves. (Toto Marti, Blick)

A lacklustre first half saw very few decent attempts for the Swiss, who were wasteful in the final third. Seeing this was made even more frustrating by the fact that we saw the same against Belgium. In fact it was Iceland who had the best chance of the first half, as debutant Yvon Mvogo made a good save from Sigurdsson.

Switzerland finally broke through after 52 minutes thanks to pantomime villain Haris Seferović. Xhaka curled the ball into the box, as Seferović scored a wonderful header that went in off the bar to give the Schweizer Nati the lead.

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Haris Seferović heads it past Hannes Halldórsson to give the Swiss the lead. (Toto Marti, Blick)

Minutes later, Mario Gavranović missed a big chance, putting the ball wide from a Shaqiri pass. Mvogo made another big save in the 65th minute, pushing away a close range header from Finnbogason.

Switzerland got their deserved second goal two minutes later, where right-back Michael Lang fired home from close range to double the Swiss lead. From there on, it seemed that the three points were safely secured for the visitors.

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Michael Lang celebrates his goal, making it 2-0 Switzerland. (Toto Marti, Blick)

However on 81 minutes Iceland pulled one back through an absolute beauty from Alfred Finnbogason. Mvogo was given no chance as the striker’s shot went right into the top corner, which no goalkeeper could’ve saved.

That goal breathed life into Iceland, who finally started to put the Swiss defence under pressure. Waves of attacks came from the Vikings, with the best chance of an equaliser denied by a headed goal-line clearance from Fabian Schär.

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Birkir Bjranason (L) and Xherdan Shaqiri (R) battle for the ball. (Toto Marti, Blick)

Mvogo made another huge save in the 90th minute, pushing Gylfi Sigurdsson’s powerful long shot over the bar. However it was all too late for Iceland, as Switzerland saw out the result.

Defeat saw Iceland’s relegation confirmed, where the result in Reykjavik sees them drop down to League B for the Nations League’s next installation. A tough group has seen the Vikings play three and lose three, an unfortunate fall from grace following their fairytale run at Euro 2016.

What next?

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The League A2 table as of 15 October. (UEFA)

Despite being level on points and with a superior goal difference, they sit second to Belgium on their head-to-head record. A bizarre situation, considering Switzerland’s goal difference is two better than Belgium’s.

Iceland play their final League A game next month, where they travel to Brussels to face Belgium. Their relegation has already been confirmed, with the game against the Red Devils a matter of playing for pride for the Vikings.

The Swiss face one last Nations League game, where they will welcome Belgium to Luzern in November. With Switzerland’s safety confirmed this is a huge game for deciding who will qualify for the Nations League Finals. However this game may also be pointless should Belgium beat Iceland three days before their trip to Central Switzerland.

Switzerland’s maiden voyage in the Nations League is almost over, and so far it has looked good. It will be interesting to see how the group finishes, and it is key to have every belief of qualification for June’s Nations League Finals.

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(Toto Marti, Blick)

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