Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Spain 1-2 Switzerland: What Did We Learn As Spain Suffer A Stunning Upset In Zaragoza?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Nations League 25 Sep 2022

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While Spain might have been smelling a golden chance on Saturday night, the former world champions put in a worrying display at the La Romareda.

Missing out on the chance to move within touching distance of booking their spot in the knockout stage of this year’s Nations League tournament, La Roja were hit with a 2-1 loss at home against Switzerland.

Sacrificing their spot at the top of the League A2 table and watching their unbeaten run come to an abrupt end, goals from Manuel Akanji and Breel Embolo on either side of the half-time break clinched a famous victory for the Rossocrociati.

While Barcelona’s Jordi Alba might have briefly dragged Spain level for just a few minutes, Saturday’s showdown in Zaragoza was certainly a night to forget for the European giants.

Two countries who will be taking center stage at this year’s World Cup finals, what did we learn from Spain’s downbeat display?

Enrique’s youngsters still seeking stability

Heading into the summer break with a 2-0 victory at home against the Czech Republic, Luis Enrique had made it clear that he was calling on his side to find some extended stability.

Although the former Barcelona boss might have seen his side enjoying an eight-match unbeaten run across all competitions heading into Saturday’s showdown at the La Romareda, they have largely struggled to find top gear.

Opening this year’s Nations League tournament with back-to-back stalemates against Portugal and the Czechs, Spain will be desperate to prove this was nothing more than a minor blip.

With Enrique making it clear over recent times that he is taking La Roja in a far more youthful direction, their developing squad has taken some time to blend together.

Mustering just four shots on Switzerland’s goal here, Spain also sacrificed their spot at the top of the League A2 table and now know that they face an uphill task in midweek.

Switzerland find a boost at a crucial time

Losing each of their opening three Nations League matchups earlier in the year, it was no secret that Murat Yakin found some growing pressure on his shoulders.

However, while Switerzland might have shocked many across Europe as they entered the summer break with a 1-0 victory at home against Portugal on June 12th, the Rossocrociati knew that they faced a huge task here.

Nevertheless, putting on an iconic display in Zaragoza and deserving of their stellar 2-1 victory against the former world champions, it appears that Yakin’s side have found a real boost at a vital time.

Finding a route off of bottom spot in the League A2 table and sitting in pole position to extend on their elite status, Switzerland will now be desperate to keep up that momentum when they travel out to Qatar in six weeks time.

Sharing their World Cup group alongside Brazil, Serbia and Cameroon, Saturday’s guests will be looking to clinch second-place and secure another knockout stage appearance at a major tournament.

Tuesday night is crucial for Spain

Not only did Spain watch their eye-catching unbeaten run come to an abrupt end on Saturday night, Enrique’s youngsters also sacrificed their spot at the top of the League A2 table.

While many might have tipped La Roja as a standout pick to book their spot in the knockout stage of this year’s Nations League, the former world champions now need a minor miracle.

Sat two points adrift of fellow European heavyweights Portugal as they make the trip out to Braga in a few days time, Spain will know that they face a real challenge on foreign soil.

Having to settle for a 1-1 draw when they welcomed the Seleção to Sevilla back on June 2nd, Enrique’s side know that nothing short of a victory would see them extend on their Nations League adventure.

However, watching Portugal mark their return to action over the weekend with a thumping 4-0 victory at home against the Czech Republic, all eyes will be on Spain’s blossoming squad in midweek.

Match Report:

Spain: Simon, Azpilicueta, Garcia, Torres, Alba, Gavi, Busquets, Pedri, Torres, Asensio, Sarabia

Subs: Llorente, Pino, Soler, Williams, Iglesias

Switzerland: Sommer, Widmer, Akanji, Elvedi, Rodriguez, Xhaka, Freuler, Vargas, Sow, Shaqiri, Embolo

Subs: Ndoye, Steffen, Zakaria, Aebischer, Seferovic

Goals: Spain: Alba (55′) – Switzerland: Akanji (21′), Embolo (58′)

Yellow Cards: Akanji

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Clément Turpin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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