Switzerland round off their EURO 2020 qualifying campaign on Monday night, as they meet Gibraltar at the Victoria Stadium.
The Schweizer Nati are preparing their final game of 2019, with the task simple for Vladimir Petković’s side. A win will see them qualify for EURO 2020, and they will top Group D if Denmark drop any points against the Republic of Ireland.
On the other hand, Gibraltar’s fate in the group was sealed long ago. Team 54 have lost all seven games and are rooted to the bottom of the table, as it’s now all about battling for pride in their qualifying finale.
Here’s everything you need to know about Switzerland’s final EURO 2020 qualifier.
|When is it?||Monday 18 November 2019|
|What time is kick-off?||20:45 local time (19:45 UK)|
|Where is it?||Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar|
|Where can I watch it?||SRF Zwei (SUI), Sky Sports Premier League (UK)|
Haris Seferović was forced to withdraw from the Switzerland squad on Saturday, after injuring himself in the warmup before Friday’s game. The Benfica striker will play no more part in qualifying, with no one called upon to replace him as the Swiss travel to Gibraltar one player short.
The Schweizer Nati now have ten players sidelined, with Seferović joining an exhaustive injury list. Xherdan Shaqiri, Steven Zuber and Timm Klose are long-term absentees, while Fabian Schär, Breel Embolo, Admir Mehmedi, Remo Freuler, Josip Drmic and Mario Gavranović all missed out on the latest squad through respective injuries.
Gibraltar manager Julio César Ribas names three uncapped players in his squad, including 20 year-old Ethan Santos. Alongside the Mons Calpe defender is Lynx duo Bradley Banda and Brad Power, who could all earn their first cap for Gibraltar.
After a dramatic 1-0 win over Georgia on Friday night, Switzerland’s form gives for much better reading. The Swiss have three wins and three clean sheets from their last four games, and secured consecutive wins for the first time since March.
It means the Schweizer Nati sit on 14 points from seven games in the group, sitting second one point behind Denmark. Group D is set for a tight finish between Switzerland, the Danes and the Republic of Ireland, as only two of them can automatically qualify.
Gibraltar haven’t had the most pleasant 2019, losing all nine of their games this calendar year. Team 54 haven’t won since October 2018 but came so close to getting a result over Georgia last month, before the visitors scored an 84th minute winner to earn a 3-2 win.
Those goals against Georgia were their only ones all campaign, having failed to score in their other six qualifiers. Team 54 will finish bottom of Group D, but it’s all about progress and development for the team ranked 196th in the world.
The reverse fixture in September was the first ever meeting between Gibraltar and Switzerland, meaning their playing history with each other is only two months old.
The Swiss were the hosts last time out, as they welcomed the Gibraltarians to the Stade Tourbillon in Sion. Denis Zakaria, Admir Mehmedi and Ricardo Rodríguez gave the Nati a sound lead in the first half, before Mario Gavranović’s late goal wrapped up a comfortable 4-0 win for Switzerland.
MY NATI LINEUP
While a back three kept yet another clean sheets, its weaknesses were once again shown on Friday night. Ricardo Rodríguez and Stephan Lichtsteiner should move back out to full-back positions, allowing them the freedom to attack while also keeping them back to defend when needed.
Ahead of a midfield three, Ruben Vargas definitely deserves another start for Switzerland after an impressive outing against Georgia. While his naivety was shown on his full international debut, the Augsburg winger was exciting and showed some good signs in a promising performance.
Up front, there’s only one man who should start. With Seferović out injured, Cedric Itten is entitled to earn his first Nati start. After scoring six minutes into his debut to score the crucial winner against Georgia, the St. Gallen talisman will rightfully earn the chance to show what he can do in 90 minutes on Monday.
The EURO 2020 qualifying campaign has been a tough task for Switzerland, but they have so far done the job. Thanks to previous performances, the Swiss are now just one win and 90 minutes away from qualifying for their fifth European Championship.
The Schweizer Nati have had another historic year of football, and there’s no better way to cap that off by qualifying for another major tournament. Switzerland should seal an emphatic victory at the Victoria Stadium, as they round off 2019 in style.
My prediction: Gibraltar 0-3 Switzerland