Albania 0-1 Switzerland - Player Ratings: Schär strikes as Switzerland overcome plucky Albanian side

Vladimir Petković's side showed they could be a dark horse at Euro 2016 in Lens with their narrow victory against a plucky Albanian side; here's how we rated both sets of players.

Albania 0-1 Switzerland - Player Ratings: Schär strikes as Switzerland overcome plucky Albanian side
Credit: BBC Sports

It was the perfect start to Euro 2016 for Switzerland, as an early Fabian Schär effort set the Rossocrociati on their way to an opening matchday victory against a plucky Albanian side that frustrated throughout. However the Swiss will have to serve up much better performances, if they are to progress into the later rounds of the tournament. 

Switzerland have some of the competitions brighest attacking talents in Xherdan Shaqiri and Breel Embolo, whilst Arsenal's new big money signing Granit Xhaka can pull the strings from midfield. Yet, in the end it was the towering 6ft 1" Hoffenheim central defender that was left the task to nod his side to victory after Albania 'keeper Etrit Berisha had flapped at a Xhaka corner.

Albania ratings

Etrit Berisha - 5 - His early flap at a Xhaka corner gave Schär the perfect opportunity to open the scorings; one the defender duly seized. The Lazio goalkeeper somewhat attoned for his error, making smart saves from Haris Seferović on a number of occasions to keep his side in the game, but it was still his mistake that had decided the game.

Elseid Hysaj - 6 - The Napoli fullback has been touted by many as the Red-Blacks standout player. After a shaky start, the defender grew into the game and it was his perfectly timed pass that nearly handed Albania an equaliser; although he will have to produce much better performances if his nation are to progress any further.

Lorik Cana - 3 - A strong start to the game from the national icon, yet after two moments of madness the veteran saw red on 37 minutes and gave his country an even harder task in what was already an uphill battle. The first a hack on Granit Xhaka, and then a deliberate handball as last man to prevent Seferović racing through after the former Marseille man had slipped. 

Mërgim Mavraj - 7 - A strong showing from the 1. FC Köln central defender. He marshalled the defence in Cana's absence and put in a number of hard tackles, most notably on Shaqiri and Mehmedi. 

Ansi Agolli - 5 - The majority of Switzerland's danger came down the 33 year old left hand side, although this may have been more a showing of Stephan Lichtsteiner's attacking prowess. Didn't offer much going forward in a side that struggled to create chances, however when called upon was defensively solid. 

Amir Abrashi - 7 - Born in Switzerland and also representing the afternoons opposition until 2013, he proved capable in both offense and defence. The SC Freiburg midfielder carried possession well for the Eagles, and his late runs from deep offered an extra attacking outlet for Giovanni De Biasi's side.

Burim Kukeli - 6 - Booked late on for a late challenge, the defensive anchor sumed up Albania's inability to forge chances. He allowed Switzerland's offensive midfielder to control the tempo of the match, even if they didn't take advantage of that fact.

Taulant Xhaka - 7 - An emotional occasion for the FC Basel allrounder, as he faced his brother Granit. The first time such a thing has happened in the European Championships. The same as Abrashi, he provided a useful asset at both ends of the pitch; especially in pressing and stifling the impact of his brother.

Odise Roshi - 6 - One of only two recognised attackers on the field for Albania, although the Rijeka man failed to make any real impact on the game. The Eagles will be hoping for much more from him, if they are to stand any chance against France and Romania. He did show glimpses late on, helping his side push belatedly for an equaliser.

Armando Sadiku - 6 - Full of effort and running throughout, yet he was also the man who squandered the Red-Blacks best chances. He fired at Sommer on the first and second occasion, and then hit the side netting on the third. Albania can't afford to waste such chances, especially when they are few and far between.

Ermir Lenjani - 6 - The converted left back was at the heart of the Eagles attacking play, although it was evident he was a defender. He put in a number of good crosses, but unfortunately for Albania and the large support that backed them no-one was on the end of them. Bundled over by Lichtsteiner late in the second half, and was unlucky to not recieve a penalty. 


Ergys Kaçe (62') - 5 - Made little impact on the game, bar being booked in his first action of the game after first almost ripping Valon Behrami's shorts from him and then hacking the Watford midfielder down.

Sokol Cikalleshi (74') - 5 - Like the man he replaced, the well travelled attacker was ineffective in attack. De Biasi had intended for him to be the catalyst for an Albanian comeback, but the Istanbul Başakşehir man did little to claw his side back into the match.

Shkëlzen Gashi (83') - 6 - Spurned a golden opportunity will minutes to go, after he found himself in acres of space with only Sommer to beat. But the Swiss goalkeeper stood firm and parried over the bar.

Schär strikers | Credit: Uefa
Schär strikes | Credit: Uefa

Switzerland ratings

Yann Sommer - 7 - Stood tall when called upon and did well to close the angle on a number of occasions. Capable with the ball at his feet, the Mönchengladbach 'keeper will have much tougher tests in France this summer.

Stephan Lichtsteiner - 7 - Typically the Juventus fullback was always in the heart of the action. Marauding down the right hand flank, he was a threat throughout and nearly opened the scoring after a clever run. Equally firm in defence, it was a consistently solid performance from the defender.

Fabian Schär - 6 - Match winner and only scorer in the game. His towering header set the Swiss on their way to an opening day victory. Dealt with the little the Albania attack offered, but did recieve an early yellow card for his mistimed tackle on Lenjani. 

Johan Djourou - 6 - The former Arsenal and now Hamburg central defender, had little to deal with throughout. Positioning at times was questionable, as Gashi was nearly handed a late equaliser and also failed to fully clear the danger once or twice.

Ricardo Rodriguez - 6 - An unusually quiet performance from the highly rated VfL Wolfsburg left full back. Didn't get forward as much as he usually does and his end product was erratic. Expect much more in the coming weeks, and he will be key if the Swiss are to qualify for the knock-out stages. 

Granit Xhaka - 6 - Much the same as Rodriguez, it was a quiet game by the Arsenal man's standards. Faced his brother, Taulant, he was highly pressed and couldn't dictate from deep as he usually does.

Valon Behrami - 7 - Provided legs to a midfield duo, that otherwise lacked mobility. The highly experienced international earning his 57th cap, controlled the pace and dropped in to act as a third central defender when in possession creating from deep.

Blerim Džemaili - 8 - The furthest forward of the Switzerland midfielders, and was desperately unlucky not to add his name to the scoresheet. Fired narrowly wide, after striking the post in the freekick following Cana's dismissal. 

Admir Mehmedi - 6 - Ghosted in and out of the game, but failed to take the match by the scruff of the neck resulting in a rather innocuous performance from the Leverkusen man. 

Xherdan Shaqiri - 7 - Switzerland's star man in the first half. Unlike Mehmedi, the ethnic Kosovan seized his chances and drove towards a static Albania defence; testing Berisha on a number of occasions, although none were close to extending the Swiss' lead. 

Haris Seferović - 6 - Much the same as his opposite on the other team, he squandered a number of clear cut opportunities. On another day he could've had a hat-trick, but will have to be more clear cut if Switzerland are to earn anything against the bigger tests of Romania and France.


Breel Embolo (62') - 7 - Nearly set up a Swiss second with his first impact on the game, but Seferović couldn't take advantage. His physique will provide opposing defences serious problems throughout the rest of the tournament, as the teenager looks to impress the continent.

Fabian Frei (76') - 5 - Didn't have an impact on the game, and was lucky to not recieve a yellow card after a petulant kick out on Amir Abrashi.

Gelson Fernandes (88') - 6 - Brought on as insurance by Vladimir Petković late on to ensure a Swiss victory, and did well in this role as the Rossocrociati managed an opening matchday victory.