Switzerland vs France Preview: Rossocrociati looking to join Les Bleus in knockout round

With France already qualified, Switzerland can join them by earning a point in Lille.

Switzerland vs France Preview: Rossocrociati looking to join Les Bleus in knockout round
Switzerland vs France Preview | Image: VAVEL UK/Harry Ribonson & Jonathan Walsh

The final round of Euro 2016 group matches commences with Switzerland taking on hosts France in Lille.

Despite having already qualified for the knockout round, France's spot at the top of Group A can still be snatched by Switzerland with a win, although they only need a point to qualify.

Tournament so far

Les Bleus currently sit at the top of the group having won both of their matches, although have had to be patient as late goals oversaw Romania and Albania respectively. Inconsistency in both games has almost cost Didier Deschamps’ side and they will have to improve if they are to live up to their tag of tournament favourites.

West Ham talisman, Dimitri Payet, has been the star of the French side, scoring in both games, including a sensational late winner in the 2-1 victory against Romania. He then completed the 2-0 scoreline deep in added-time against Albania.

Switzerland have also been unconvincing, with their main problem being their performance in front of goal. Rossocrociati will feel that they should have won their game against Romania, which ended in a 1-1 draw, due to the amount of chances they created in the game. Striker Haris Seferovic missed two great chances before he was substituted for the much more effective Breel Embolo.

The 1-0 win over Albania should have also been a much more comfortable scoreline as Switzerland dominated the feisty contest but failed to add to their slender lead after Fabian Schar’s fifth-minute goal. Chances will not come in such high quantity against France like they have done in the previous two games, so taking their chances will be vital if Switzerland are to secure a spot in the knockout round for the first time in the 56-year history of the competition.


France are unbeaten against Switzerland in competitive history, having won two and drawn three of their five meetings in international competition. the two sides met at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, with France humiliating their opponents by a 5-2 scoreline. Switzerland head coach, Vladimir Petkovic, speaking in his pre-match press conference, played down suggestions that his side would want revenge for the result, claiming they were “focusing on the present [day].”

The France players celebrate during their 5-2 win over Switzerland at the World Cup | Photo: Getty
The France players celebrate during their 5-2 win over Switzerland at the World Cup | Photo: Getty

Key players

France key player: Payet has already shown the quality he can produce in his new role in the France side. just six months ago, the former Marseille man struggled to win the appraisal of Deschamps and often found himself not in the squad, although his performances in the Premier League since his arrival in west London have given the France head coach no option but to include him. Payet has been France’s most important player so far in the tournament; his all-round ability could be the difference between France winning and not taking all three points against Switzerland.

Switzerland key player: two man-of-the-match-winning performances from Arsenal’s new midfield general, Xhaka, have seen Switzerland control possession in both their previous games. The former Borussia Monchengladbach captain made European Championship history against Albania, taking to the pitch against his brother, Taulant Xhaka, who plays for the Albanian national team. The siblings became the first to do so since the competition began in 1960. Xhaka outperformed his brother in the game, with his range and variation of his passing an obvious trait. Xhaka likes to sit in midfield and dictate play, allowing fellow midfielders Blerim Dzemaili and Valon Behrami to push further forward.

Likely line-ups:

In his pre-match press conference, Deschamps hinted at the possibility of fielding a slightly weaker team against Switzerland, with the bookings picked up by N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud earlier in the competition likely to be taken into consideration.

France: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Digne; Pogba, Cabaye, Sissoko; Griezmann, Gignac, Payet.

Despite their inconsistency, Switzerland are likely to field the same team that has started both their group games so far. This means Rossocrociati fans are unlikely to get their wish of Embolo starting ahead of Seferovic.

Switzerland: Sommer; Lichsteiner, Schar, Djourou, Rodriguez; Behrami, Xhaka, Dzemaili; Shaqiri, Seferovic, Mehmedi.