Switzerland play their final home match of 2019 on Friday night, as they host Georgia in St. Gallen.
Qualification for EURO 2020 is closer than ever, as the Schweizer Nati know exactly what they need to do. They must win both of their two remaining games, which will see them seal their place at next summer’s showpiece event. However, if they drop points in any shape or form, their automatic qualification spot may be beyond them.
Friday’s visitors have nothing much to play for, as Georgia cannot finish in the top two of Group D. Nevertheless, they still have one huge shot of reaching their first European Championship as an independent country, as they are assured of a play-off place thanks to their performance in last year’s Nations League.
Here’s everything you need to know about Switzerland’s penultimate EURO 2020 qualifier.
|When is it?||Friday 15 November 2019|
|What time is kick-off?||20:45 local time (19:45 UK)|
|Where is it?||kybunpark, St. Gallen|
|Where can I watch it?||SRF Zwei (SUI), Sky Sports Premier League (UK)|
Switzerland are faced with a much thinner, much-changed squad from October, as Vladimir Petković has a host of absentees among his ranks. On top of the long-term injuries in Xherdan Shaqiri, Steven Zuber and Timm Klose, Petković is without another six players.
Fabian Schär is unavailable with a knee injury, while thigh problems keep both Breel Embolo and Admir Mehmedi out of action. Remo Freuler and Josip Drmic have pulled out through injury, while Mario Gavranović is also sidelined for the final two games.
Georgia manager Vladimír Weiss names just one uncapped player in his squad, in the form of third-choice goalkeeper Lazare Kupatadze. Captain Jaba Kankava poses the biggest threat for the Crusaders, as he hopes to add to his 10 international goals.
Switzerland’s recent form remains mixed, but they left off last time with a huge win over the Republic of Ireland. The Swiss sealed a 2-0 victory in Geneva last months, thanks to a wonderful Haris Seferović strike and a Shane Duffy own goal.
However, the Swiss need to record back-to-back victories starting on Friday, something they haven’t done since March 2019. Despite this, it will be of reassurance that the Nati recorded comprehensive wins over both upcoming opponents, Georgia and Gibraltar, earlier in the campaign.
Georgia are on a four-game unbeaten run, which is made less impressive when you realise they also have just one win in five. The Crusaders secured a crucial 3-2 win over Gibraltar last time out, though it came to nothing as they were ruled out of automatic qualification.
Switzerland and Georgia met on matchday one in Tbilisi, and it was the Schweizer Nati who triumphed back in March. Steven Zuber and Denis Zakaria scored for the Swiss to secure a 2-0 win, as Petković’s side got off to a fantastic start to EURO 2020 qualifying.
The Swiss are unbeaten in their three previous meetings, with two wins and one draw against Georgia. The visitors have managed just one goal past Friday’s opponents, and are still searching for their first ever win over a strong Switzerland side.
MY NATI LINEUP
With a wealth of injuries faced by Petković, a lot of changes have to be made in attack as we stick with a 4-2-3-1. In defence, the only change I’ve made is bringing in Nico Elvedi for Schär, after some fantastic recent performances for the Schweizer Nati.
The whole of Switzerland’s front three is unavailable, as Shaqiri, Zuber and Embolo are all out injured. In their absence, I’ve opted for Albian Ajeti on the right wing, Edimilson Fernandes down the middle and youngster Ruben Vargas on the left, who could earn his first full cap for the Nati.
As always, it’s a must-win game for Switzerland, who are just six points and two wins away from booking their berth at EURO 2020. With all due respect, Georgia posed no real threat in the reverse fixture, and the Swiss should be able to cruise to a slick victory.
A weaker attack could cost the Nati, but with an impressive wealth of players and strong experience still present in Petković’s side, Switzerland should earn a big win in St. Gallen as they begin to conclude 2019.
My Prediction: Switzerland 3-0 Georgia