Switzerland 2-0 Portugal: European Champions Suffer Shock Loss in Basel

Breel Embrolo opened the scoring for the Swiss / Image via dailymail.co.uk

Breel Embrolo opened the scoring for the Swiss / Image via dailymail.co.uk

Reigning European champions Portugal kicked off their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a trip to Switzerland, hoping to extend the positive run following a historic Euro 2016 success in France.

Fernando Santos’ men however suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at the start of the qualifiers at the hands of the talented Swiss side, who put in a strong and resilient display at St. Jacob-Park on Tuesday night.

Having lost only one World Cup qualifier at home since 2001, Switzerland have thus continued their formidable home record much to the pleasing of home supporters.

Team News

Switzerland head coach Vladimir Petkovic has not made many changes to the squad he led during the 2016 European Championship finals in France earlier in the summer.

Influential striker Josip Drmic missed Euro 2016 due to injury and was unavailable once again for the beginning of the World Cup qualifiers, alongside equally important member of the first team Xherdan Shaqiri who failed to recover from his injury problem in time.

The likes of Philippe Senderos, Pajtim Kasami, Gokhan Inler and Valentin Stocker have been overlooked for the occasion, while Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka started the game together with the hot prospect Breel Embolo, who managed to get his name on the score sheet against the Selecao.

Arsenal man ended the game prematurely though having been sent off for a reckless challenge in the 93rd minute of the match.

Fernando Santos had much bigger selection problems than his Swiss counterpart as he was unable to call upon Miguel Veloso, Ricardo Carvalho, Tiago Mendes, Renato Sanches and captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who is still suffering from a knee injury he sustained during the Euro 2016 final against France.

In addition, the exciting Barcelona starlet Andre Gomes was forced to withdraw from the squad just days prior to the game which was another blow to the European Champions.

First Half

Despite opening the game with a great opportunity to get in front within the first five minutes of the match through Bernardo Silva, Portugal failed to make their presence known later on during the first half of the match with Switzerland taking advantage to score two goals in the space of five minutes and earn a comfortable cushion that was ultimately enough for huge three points against the European champions.

Schalke forward Breel Embrolo was the one to open the scoring after 24 minutes when he got to the rebound in the goalmouthafter a free kick to plant a header home, much to delight of the home crowd.

On the half hour mark the Swiss doubled their lead through Admir Mehmedi who scored a stunning goal for his national team.

Mehmedi latched on to a precise through pass from Haris Seferovic before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top right corner from the edge of area.

Portugal were left stunned, but still attempted to catch an early break and get back in the game as soon as possible. Raphael Guerreiro had a fine chance to pull one back for the visitors on two occasions in the space of a single minute, but Switzerland’s excellent work defensively paid off as their net remained still for the remainder of the first 45 minutes.

Second Half

Fernando Santos had plenty to say during the half time team talk and his words seemed to have given result with Portugal getting out of the tunnel with more resolve and determination to get back in the game.

Alves Cedric, Nani and Bernando Silva had their respective efforts on the Switzerland goal early in the second half, but the hosts responded through Blerim Dzemaili, who took a shot from inside the box sending it by a whisker wide of the right post.

Portugal spent the majority of the second term attacking and trying to breach through solid defence from the Swiss, but lacked the cutting edge in front of goal. The absences of Cristiano Ronaldo and Renato Sanches were sorely missed on the occasion.

Visitors came closest to scoring eight minutes from time when Nani latched on a superb cross inside the box with a flying header which unfortunately hit the right post.

Switzerland endured through Portugal attacks and emerged deserved winners from the highlight match of the night.

Statistical Overview

  • Evenly distributed possession – Swiss taking 47% of the ball to Portugal’s 53%
  • Visitors dominance – 27 attempts on goal to Switzerland’s 8
  • Portugal’s lack of cutting edge – 11 shots off target and another 12 blocked
  • The Swiss recorded successive 2-0 wins over Portugal in less than three months
  • Switzerland lost only one World Cup qualifier at home since 2001

SWITZERLAND: Sommer 6.5 – Lichtsteiner 7 (Widmer 6), Schar 7, Djourou 6.5, Rodriguez 6.5 – Xhaka 6, Behrami 7 – Embrolo 7.5, Dzemaili 7 (Fernandes 6), Mehmedi 8 – Seferovic 7 (Derdiyok 6)

Unused subs: Burki, Elvedi, Frei, Hitz, Klose, Moubandje, Steffen

PORTUGAL: Patricio 6 – Cedric 6.5, Pepe 6.5, Fonte 6.5, Guerreiro 6.5 – Moutinho 7 (Quaresma 6), Carvalho 6.5 (Mario 6), Silva 6.5 – Nani 7, Eder 6.5 (Silva A. 6), Silva 6.5

Unused subs: Alves B., Andre, Cancelo, Eduardo, Eliseu, Marafona, Neto, Pereira, Silva R.

REFEREE: Antonio Mateu Lahoz

Other results this evening

Albania 2-1 FYR Macedonia

Andorra 0-1 Latvia

Belarus 0-0 France

Bosnia & Herzegovina 5-0 Estonia

Bulgaria 4-3 Luxembourg

Cyprus 0-3 Belgium

Faroe Islands 0-0 Hungary

Gibraltar 1-4 Greece

Sweden 1-1 Netherlands

Tue 6 Sep, 2016
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Quaresma not ruling out Porto return

Portugal international Ricardo Quaresma is enjoying his time with the Turkish giants Besiktas, but is refusing to rule out the possibility of returning to his former club Porto.

The experienced 32-year-old winger is currently on vacation following a historic Euro 2016 campaign during which Portugal have won their first ever European crown, but reports of his potential return to Portugal have gained pace in recent weeks.

Portugal international does not hide his emotional connection with Porto, but refuses to be drawn into speculation about a possible return to Estadio do Dragao.

“FC Porto will always be a special club for me. But I don’t know about tomorrow. I have a contract with Besiktas.”, Quaresma told Portugal daily Abola.

Ricardo Quaresma initially spent four seasons with Porto, having played 114 league games for the club from 2004 to 2008. The Portugal international returned to Porto in 2014 where he played additional 42 league games in a year’s time.

The 32-year-old winger has had a successful summer with his national team in France. Quaresma was integral part of Fernando Santos’ Euro 2016 winning squad emerging from Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow to help his team record a historic European title.

Fri 15 Jul, 2016
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Prediction: Poland vs Portugal

Verdict: Portugal to qualify

Best Odds: 4/7

Bookmaker: William Hill

Poland held off challenge from Switzerland to win the Last 16 stage tie on penalties, but they are likely to face another difficult task against star-studded Portugal side. The Selecao were quite fortunate to progress following yet another under-par showing, but maybe they will finally produce the performance we all know they are capable of.


Poland arrived at the tournament finals high on spirits following some very good performances in the qualifiers, but it is fair to say the team did not impress in France. The White Eagles have largely struggled in the build up play, which resulted in mere three goals scored in four matches, but they were able to make each of those strikes count, keeping three clean sheets in the process. However, while they did well to hold Germany to a goalless draw, Poland were well below par against Northern Ireland and Ukraine, and they had a big smile from Lady Luck in the final group game as Ukraine had missed a host of clear-cut chances before Jakub Blaszczykowski came to the rescue. The former Borussia Dortmund star was on the scoresheet in the first knockout stage as well, helping his side overcome Switzerland after penalty shoot-out, but it is clear that Poland will have to show a massive improvement if they are to pip Portugal to the semi-final berth. The fact that their top scorer Robert Lewandowski has yet to find the net in France is obviously a major cause for concern, with other star attacher Arkadiusz Milik also struggling for form.

Team News

There have been no fresh selection worries for coach Adam Nawalka, who is widely expected to field an unchanged side to that which beat Switzerland.


Portugal have undergone a real resurgence under current coach Fernando Santos and having finished the qualifying campaign with seven straight wins, the Selecao were tipped to fight for the title at the Euro 2016 finals. And while they appear to be in a very good position at the moment, the fact of the matter is that their performances have been well below expectations. Portugal squeezed into the Last 16 stage with three draws in the group stage, as they came from behind three times to secure a 3-3 stalemate against Hungary. The Selecao showed little to no improvement in the knockout stage clash with Croatia, but they eventually emerged victorious as Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma combined to score the winner in the dying moments of extra time. However, just like their next opponents, Portugal desperately need to show improvement if they want to remain in the competition, but we have a feeling the players will step up the plate against Poland and finally show everyone what they are capable of. The Selecao have a unique opportunity to mount a serious title challenge and the players can be trusted to give their best to try and win this game.

Team News

Fernando Santos is sweating over the fitness of Raphael Guerreiro and Andre Gomes, who are both rated doubtful with muscle injuries.

Meanwhile, Renato Sanches and Ricardo Quaresma are pushing for starting positions after impressing against Croatia.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Over 2.5 goals were scored in three of last four meetings between the two sides
  • Both sides are unbeaten at Euro 2016 finals
  • Poland kept three clean sheets in four matches in France
  • Each of Portugal’s four matches ended in draw after regular time
  • Poland scored mere three goals so far


Even if they now have the opportunity to fight for a place in the semis, both sides have been pretty disappointing so far. But, seeing as how Portugal have got a lot more room for improvement and more individual quality, we are backing the Selecao to progress.

Verdict: Portugal to qualify

Best Odds: 4/7

Bookmaker: William Hill

Thu 30 Jun, 2016
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Prediction: England vs Portugal

Verdict: Home win

Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: William Hill

It is the end of the road for Roy Hodgson’s men, who are set to host Portugal in their final friendly match ahead of their first group game at the Euro 2016. The Three Lions will be keen to impress against rivals another European Championship participant, who come to England without their key player Cristiano Ronaldo.


As the beginning of the Euro 2016 is getting closer, participating nations are finishing their preparations for the showpiece event in France. Following their 2-1 triumph over Australia last week, England are getting ready for their ultimate test before the real thing. Portugal will be a fitting challenge before England’s first group game against Germany and Roy Hodgson’s men are eager to impress at Wembley before they pack their bags and hit the road to the neighbourhood. England boss Roy Hodgson trimmed his squad list whittling his selection to the final 23 men. Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has done enough to convince the coaching staff to take him to Euros having scored on his senior debut against Australia. Another surprise is the exclusion of Danny Drinkwater, who was overlooked despite a fantastic season with Leicester. Instead, there was a place for Jack Wilshere who played 45 minutes against the Socceroos and made the cut despite his well-documented problems with injuries. Andros Townsend was another player to be omitted. England are heading into their friendly match with Portugal in fine form and in good spirits as the nation keeps its expectations high hoping that this might be the year England will step up to the plate at the continental championship.

Team News

Tottenham players Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Dele Alli and Kyle Walker all missed the 2-1 win over Australia and are now expected to be back in the team as well as Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Fabian Delph has suffered an injury last week that ruled him out of the squad and out of the European Championship finals.


Fernando Santos’ men will have one more test after the England game as they are still to play Estonia before the Euros, but the high-profile match against the Three Lions is a great opportunity to grab a morale-boosting win which would also improve the confidence ahead the trip to France. Portugal are coming off from the 3-0 win over Norway on Sunday. Head coach Fernando Santos had only 21 players at his disposal as Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe missed the game due to their Champions League final participation with Real Madrid. Los Blancos’ duo will not be back until next week as they have been given an extended break after their Champions League success. They will however join their team in time for Estonia game and the start of their Euro 2016 journey which begins on 14 June against Iceland. Fernando Santos has already expressed his frustration upon being repeatedly asked about Real Madrid forward claiming that Portugal team does not depend upon one man. Portugal are seated in Group F of the Euro 2016 final together with Austria, Hungary and aforementioned Iceland.

Team News

Joao Mario and Andre Gomes are leading the options to start in wide midfield against England, together with Quaresma who is eager to continue in his spot following an impressive performance against Norway.

Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo, as it was said earlier, have been given extended time off following their Champions League duties with Real Madrid.

Key Factors to Consider

  • England are playing their last prep math before the Euro 2016
  • The Three Lions have lost only 2 of their last 20 matches
  • Portugal won 6 of their last 7 away matches
  • Marcus Rashford has scored a goal in his senior debut
  • Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the second consecutive match for Portugal


England could have hardly hoped for a better conclusion to their Euro 2016 preparations as they will be up against an attractive and highly motivated rival. Portugal will try to end England’s positive run and give them a sad farewell to France. It will not be an easy task despite Portugal manager insists his team is more than just Cristiano Ronaldo as England finally have a competitive, attack-oriented and versatile team capable of defeating anyone. Momentum is on their side and they can end up winning the final friendly match before they pack their bags.

Verdict: Home win

Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: William Hill

Wed 1 Jun, 2016
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Sporting Lisbon in talks for Ricardo Quaresma

Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon have set out to try and lure former player Ricardo Quaresma back to Estadio da Luz, according to A Bola.

It was there that the highly rated winger began his professional career that later saw him also play for Barcelona, Inter Milan, Chelsea and FC Porto, among other clubs.

Quaresma returned to Besiktas last summer following an 18-month spell with FC Porto, but it looks as though he may be on the move yet again.

Namely, Sporting Lisbon are keen to re-sign their prodigal son and are currently in talks with Besiktas chiefs.

A Bola has learned that the Lions are even ready to include striker Teo Gutierrez in the deal as the Super Eagles are reportedly interested in his services.

Ricardo Quaresma has been in fine form ever since he returned from the Middle East and he has scored 3 goals in 11 league outings for Besiktas.

Tue 8 Dec, 2015
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Besiktas confirm talks for Quaresma

Besiktas JK have moved to confirm they are negotiating a deal with FC Porto for Portuguese winger Ricardo Quaresma.

The Black Eagles have so far recruited Dusko Tosic and Andres Beck, and they plan to make the Portugal international their third signing of the summer.

And with the Turkish giants confirming via their official website that talks were ongoing, chances are the transfer will be wrapped up in the coming days.

“With regard to the transfer of Ricardo Quaresma, the club (Besiktas) have already started negotiations with FC Porto,” a statement read.

Ricardo Quaresma returned to Porto in January 2014, joining on a free transfer from Al Ahli and he in turn produced some very good performances, scoring 10 goals and creating 7 more in 43 competitive outings last season.

The 31-year-old, however, appears set to leave the Dragons for the second time in his career, having previously moved to Inter Milan in 2008.

Quaresma has been capped 40 times by Portugal and he scored 4 goals, featuring in three Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Tue 21 Jul, 2015
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Anderson linked with Porto return

Daily Mirror is reporting that FC Porto are prepared to offer Manchester United midfielder Anderson an escape route from Old Trafford.

It was from the Dragons that the Brazilian arrived in Manchester some six and a half years ago, but he never quite managed to live up to the billing in England.

The Red Devils are now hoping to offload the midfielder in January, with his former club Porto reportedly showing interest.

The Dragons could stay without several high-profile players in the winter, and they seem to be considering moves for former players Ricardo Quaresma and Anderson.

Anderson has made a total of 3 Premier League appearances this season, while featuring in one Champions League match, but it is perfectly clear he has no long-term future at the club.

And even with his contract not due to expire until June 2015, chances are the Brazilian will be available on a cut-price deal in January.

Fri 6 Dec, 2013
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Lazio step up chase for Quagliarella; Quaresma linked with Porto return

hot-transfer-newsLazio step up chase for Quagliarella

Lazio seem to have made Juventus striker Fabio Quagliarella their number one target, that’s according to Il Corriere dello Sport.

It is no secret that star striker Miroslav Klose will be leaving Stadio Olimpico at the end of the current campaign, but the club officials plan to sign him a replacement at the earliest opportunity.

And even though the Biancocelesti have also been linked with Filip Djordjevic, Giampaolo Pazzini and Hernan Barcos, they seem to have made Fabio Quagliarella their primary target.

The Italy international had already agreed a switch to Lazio on transfer deadline day, but the deal eventually fell through as Juventus were unable to complete the signing of Alberto Gilardino in time.

Lazio are now set to return for the Italy international, although it remains to be seen if their Serie A rivals will be prepared to do business in January.

The Biancocelesti face Sampdoria on the road at the weekend, and they are 11/8 to end a three-match winless run.

Quaresma linked with Porto return

Portuguese newspaper A Bola has learned that FC Porto are considering a move for free agent Ricardo Quaresma.

The Dragons are expected to add few more players to their ranks in January, and they seem to be weighing up a bid for former player Ricardo Quaresma.

Having missed out on Brazilian Bernard in the summer, Porto boss Paulo Fonseca seems to have set his sights on the former Portugal international.

The 30-year-old has been a free agent since leaving Al Ahli back in May, and no doubt he would jump at the opportunity to return to Estadio do Dragao.

Quaresma decided to leave Besiktas in December 2012, and went on to sign for Al Ahli in January 2013.

He has since made 10 league appearances for the new club and scored a total of 2 goals in the process.

The highly rated winger has also represented Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Inter and Chelsea in the past.

Juventus eyeing Ignazio Abate

AC Milan full-back Ignazio Abate seems to be on Juventus radar, La Gazzetta dello Sport has revealed.

With both Stephan Lichtsteiner and Martin Caceres linked with a move away from Turin, the Bianconeri are already looking at potential replacements.

And La Gazzetta dello Sport understands that Juventus are considering a move for AC Milan defender Ignazio Abate.

The Bianconeri have already sounded out the player’s representatives over a possible switch to Turin, thinking that the defender had less than a year left on his deal at San Siro.

Nevertheless, even after finding out that his contract was indeed valid until June 2015, the Serie A champions remain keen on the Italy international.

Ignazio Abate has spent his entire professional career as a Milan player, although he did enjoy loan spells with Napoli, Piacenza, Modena, Empoli and Torino.

For more news about football transfers and rumours, visit our Transfer News section. To view all football transfers for 2013/14 season, visit our Soccer Transfers section.

Wed 20 Nov, 2013
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City and PSG battle for Digne; Fiorentina want Mario Gomez

hot-transfer-newsCity and PSG battle for Digne

According to reports from France, Manchester City are set to challenge Paris Saint-Germain for Lille full-back Lucas Digne.

Having failed to qualify for the Champions League, les Dogues need to raise some cash in order to balance the books and the only way they can do this is by selling their star players.

According to Le 10 Sport, Paris Saint-Germain have already opened talks with Lille officials over the purchase of Lucas Digne.

While les Dogues are holding out for €18 million, the Saints are reportedly ready to offer up to €15 million for the highly rated defender.

Meanwhile, L’Equipe reports that Manchester City are seriously considering making a move for Digne in the summer.

The Citizens look set to stay without Aleksandar Kolarov and they want the Lille defender to challenge Gael Clichy for a starting berth at Etihad.

Fiorentina want Mario Gomez

Serie A high-flyers Fiorentina are lining up a summer bid for Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez, according to Tuttosport.

Viola officials are preparing for life without Stevan Jovetic and are actively searching for his successor.

The Artemio Franchi outfit have been linked with a number of high-profile players over the past few weeks, but Tuttosport understands they are also looking at Mario Gomez.

The Germany international might have to leave Alianz Arena if Bayern indeed sign Robert Lewandowski, and there is every chance he will be leaving the Bundesliga.

He would probably be interested in a move to Serie A, where Juventus are also keen, but the fact Fiorentina will not be playing Champions League football could prove to be a problem.

Mario Gomez, 27, joined Bayern from Stuttgart in the summer of 2009 and has since scored 75 goals in 115 Bundesliga appearances.

Galatasaray linked to Quaresma

Turkish newspaper Fanatik is reporting that Galatasaray are being linked with a move for Al Ahli winger Ricardo Quaresma.

It is no secret the Turkish giants are looking to sign a left-sided midfielder and allow Wesley Sneijder to play in his natural position behind the strikers.

Fatih Terim had initially made former player Arda Turan the number one target, but he has since switched his attention to Ricardo Quaresma.

The experienced coach believes the Portugal international would be a great asset to the squad at Turk Telekom Arena despite the fact his unprofessional behaviour has often caused him problems while at Besiktas.

Quaresma only joined Al Ahli in January after ending his contract with Besiktas, but he would probably jump at the opportunity to return to Europe.

The 29-year-old had spent two seasons with the Black Eagles, scoring 8 goals in 46 Super Lig appearances.

For more news about football transfers and rumours, visit our Transfer News section. To view all football transfers for 2013/14 season, visit our Soccer Transfers section.

Fri 31 May, 2013
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Aimar to join Quaresma at Al Ahli

Portuguese newspaper Record claims that Benfica playmaker Pablo Aimar is edging closer to joining Al Ahli.

The veteran midfielder, who has less than six months left on his deal at Estadio da Luz, was tipped to remain with the Eagles at least until the summer, but it appears that he will be leaving in January after all.

According to Record, Aimar has received a lucrative proposal from Al Ahli and is on the verge of reaching an agreement with the Dubai-based club.

Al Ahli recently produced a major coup by signing Ricardo Quaresma on a free transfer from Besiktas, with Pablo Aimar likely to follow.

With the club only allowed three foreign players, two of Luis Jimenez, Grafite and Achille Emana will be leaving in case the Argentine arrives in Dubai.

Pablo Aimar, 33, has spent last five seasons at Benfica, scoring 12 goals in 99 Primeira Liga appearances for the club.

Sun 13 Jan, 2013
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