Switzerland gave up a 3-0 lead in the dying minutes of their second EURO 2020 qualifier, as they drew 3-3 with Denmark in Basel on Tuesday night.
Denmark started on the front foot, with Christian Eriksen and Martin Braithwaite having early chances. Steven Zuber had Switzerland’s first chance of the game, but his header from Granit Xhaka’s wonderful cross was the wrong side of the post.
Switzerland controversially took the lead in the 19th minute, as Albian Ajeti laid it off for Remo Freuler who fired home for his first ever goal for the Nati. Though it was a fantastic finish, Ajeti’s first touch clearly came off his arm, and the goal truthfully should not have stood. Nevertheless, the Swiss had a valuable lead at St. Jakob-Park.
Moments into the second half, Denmark thought they had equalised through Yussuf Poulsen’s low finish. However the Danish winger’s goal was disallowed for offside, as he stood just millimetres ahead of the Swiss defence.
Granit Xhaka made it 2-0 with an absolutely wonderful strike in the 66th minute. The Schweizer Nati captain picked up the ball on the edge of the box, and struck it beautifully into the top corner giving goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel no chance.
Switzerland seemed to have secured the win soon after thanks to Breel Embolo. The former FC Basel striker got the slightest touch to Manuel Akanji’s towering header, as it squirmed across the line to seemingly wrap up the win.
However Denmark pulled one back in the 84th minute, as Eriksen’s cross went all the way through and was headed home by Mathias Jørgensen. The Danes reduced the deficit to 3-2 four minutes later, as Christian Gytkjær slotted home to set up a nervous finish for the hosts.
Henrik Dalsgaard completed Denmark’s remarkable comeback in the 93rd minute, beating Yann Sommer to the ball to head home and snatch the win from Switzerland, as they completed their nine-minute comeback.
Switzerland were outstanding for the majority of the game, and deservedly went 3-0 up. They fought hard and, although their first goal shouldn’t have stood, it gave them a huge boost and great confidence for the game. They added two more in the second half in a super attacking performance, as they all but wrapped up the win.
But somehow, Switzerland collapsed. The Swiss defence stood and watched as Eriksen’s cross went through everyone and was headed home by Jørgensen. They were motionless as the Danes carved through the defence to add their second. And worst of all, they didn’t clear their lines in the dying seconds, which led to Denmark’s equaliser.
A disastrous 9 minutes of defending cost Switzerland a huge three points, in a defensive display that is so unlike the Swiss team we have come to know today. It was a devastating and embarrassing finish to the game, as Petković’s side were booed off in Basel.
However credit where credit’s due, Denmark did brilliantly to stay composed, keep fighting and find their way back into the game. While Switzerland were on top for the first half, the Danes came out for the second half in fine force, unlucky to concede another two goals.
Nevertheless, Åge Hareide showed incredible character to fight until the end, and what seemed like a consolation when Jørgensen scored turned into the start of a comeback. They fought on and on, and frankly earned a deserved point in the end.
The result knocks Switzerland off the top of Group D and down to second, with the Republic of Ireland overtaking them. Denmark are in third, having played their first game of their qualifying campaign.
This was the last action of the international break, with neither side playing until June. Switzerland are off to Portugal for the Nations League Finals, starting with the semi-final tie against the hosts in Porto on 5 June. Meanwhile, Denmark continue their qualification campaign in Copenhagen, when they host Republic of Ireland on 7 June.
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