Switzerland play their biggest EURO 2020 qualifier on Tuesday night, as they welcome the Republic of Ireland to Geneva.
Following defeat to Denmark on Saturday, the Schweizer Nati cannot afford to drop any more points in Group D. They have three games left to play and every one is simply a must-win game, starting with the toughest test of them all.
On the other hand, the Republic of Ireland are on the verge of securing automatic qualification. The Boys in Green sit top of the table with two games to play, and victory in Geneva will be enough for them to qualify for EURO 2020.
Here’s everything you need to know about Switzerland’s most important Group D test yet.
|When is it?||Tuesday 15 October 2019|
|What time is kick-off?||20:45 local time (19:45 UK)|
|Where is it?||Stade de Genève, Geneva|
|Where can I watch it?||SRF Zwei (SUI), Sky Sports Main Event (UK)|
It will be interesting to see whether Vladimir Petković plays a back three again, after its repeated failure throughout the year. Kevin Mbabu could return to the starting eleven, though captain Stephan Lichtsteiner put in a decent performance that suggests he doesn’t deserve to be dropped.
The Republic of Ireland are without David McGoldrick, who scored in the reverse fixture last September. Shane Duffy is also back in the Irish side after playing last weekend in Tbilisi, while Brigton youngster Aaron Connolly could earn his first full cap in Geneva.
Switzerland fell to their first defeat of EURO 2020 qualifying last weekend, having previously won two and drawn two. The Schweizer Nati now only have one win in their last 5 games, as they sit third in Group D four points off the top.
The Swiss have failed to score on two separate occasions this year, while conceding seven of their eight goals in the final 10 minutes. With just two wins from five qualifiers, there is no room for error in their final three games.
The Republic of Ireland couldn’t ask for more from their qualifying campaign so far, as they need just three more points to book their place at EURO 2020. Twelve points from six games gives them a healthy return at the top of the table, and within reaching distance of next summer’s tournament.
The Boys in Green are on a remarkable nine-game unbeaten run, with their last defeat coming over a year ago to Wales. Mick McCarthy’s are in excellent form and are arguably the favourites going into Tuesday’s game, arriving in Geneva in better form and a better position to qualify from Group D.
It was an evenly fought battle last time the two sides met, as it ended 1-1 in Dublin last month. After a goalless first half, Fabian Schär’s beautiful team goal seemed to have wrapped up the points for the visitors, before McGoldrick equalised late on to earn a vital point for the Irish.
It is the Republic of Ireland who have the superior record out of the two, with eight wins from their previous 17 meetings. In contrast, Switzerland have only won five times, with a total of 30 goals between the two nations over the years.
MY NATI LINEUP
There’s not much more I need to say about Switzerland’s defence- we have to play a back four. No question about it. Something needs to change at the back in personnel and tactics, and Petković knows that for sure after Saturday’s shambolic display.
I think Nico Elvedi and Stephan Lichtsteiner should start on Saturday, after decent performances on Saturday. While the Nati captain definitely deserves to play again, Elvedi is a controversial decision for his fault in Denmark’s goal, but he is my preferred centre-back partner over Manuel Akanji.
The midfield stays the same, with Denis Zakaria retaining his spot after an excellent performance in Copenhagen. Remo Freuler should come back into the attacking midfield spot just behind Haris Seferović up front, with Admir Mehmedi and Breel Embolo staying out wide.
Tuesday’s game in Geneva is so crucial it’s hard to describe- Switzerland have to win. While the Republic of Ireland are looking to win to earn automatic qualification, the Swiss need to prevail to keep those hopes alive going into the final three games.
The Irish will be stern opposition, and there’s little confidence to take into the game after Saturday’s result. My head says the Schweizer Nati will fail to win and drop crucial points once again, but my heart knows that, when Switzerland need to win, they will win.
My Prediction: Switzerland 1-0 Republic of Ireland