Christian Fuchs is unsurprised to see Leicester City’s Premier League heroes taking Euro 2016 by storm and believes a similar underdog spirit has gripped the tournament.
As Claudio Ranieri’s first-choice left-back during Leicester’s astonishing march to glory, Fuchs will once again have to overturn the odds on Saturday when he captains Austria against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in Paris.
Club team-mate Jamie Vardy came off the bench at half-time to equalise in England’s 2-1 win over Wales in Lens, while N’Golo Kante has been a key performer in helping hosts France to collect back-to-back wins.
Meanwhile, shock results for the likes of Iceland, Northern Ireland and Hugary – the latter at Austria’s expense – have seemed to take their cues from events in the English top flight this term.
“These players, they play at very good national squads at a tournament where everything is possible,” Fuchs told a news conference at the Parc des Princes.
“The so-called ‘small teams’ don’t exist anymore, anybody can beat anybody so it depends on the individual players and the squads if they are able to deal with this situation.”
On Friday, Fuchs tweeted a comically mocked-up picture of Vardy to congratulate the striker on his England exploits, while he marvelled at Kante’s exploits for Les Bleus.
— Christian Fuchs (@FuchsOfficial) June 16, 2016
“I’ve seen the games, I was not surprised at all,” he added.
“NG, that’s what we call him. He runs a lot and I think he has increased the total numbers of the French squad by 20 kilometres!
“He closes a lot of holes and he scored in his first [full] game for the Tricolours [a friendly against Russia in March].
“He’s an outstanding player and I’m very happy for him to participate in this tournament.”