Tribal Football

Switzerland survive late Hungary fightback to get Euro campaign off to perfect start

Switzerland survive late Hungary fightback to get Euro campaign off to perfect start
Switzerland were the better team despite a late fightback from the Hungarians
Switzerland were the better team despite a late fightback from the HungariansProfimedia
Switzerland took a large stride towards qualifying for the knockout stages of a sixth consecutive major tournament, opening their UEFA European Championship campaign with a 3-1 victory despite a second-half rally from Hungary in Cologne.

Germany’s 5-1 smothering of Scotland on the opening night was an indication that the two other Group A sides may well end up battling it out for second place, making this a potentially crucial match-up.

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Switzerland began as clearly the stronger side, perhaps as a result of their vast experience, but it was a new face who stepped up to land the first blow.

Michel Aebischer slipped an ingenious ball through a crowd of defenders to surprise starter Kwadwo Duah, who slotted past Péter Gulácsi for his maiden international goal on just a second appearance for the Red Crosses.

Duah's opener
Duah's openerStatsperform, AFP

 

That was almost succeeded by a second when Milos Kerkez gifted a clear chance to Ruben Vargas, but the Augsburg winger didn’t do enough with the finish to beat Gulácsi.

Hungary eventually began to match their opponents’ intensity, but numerous mistakes made things difficult, and they were thoroughly punished on the stroke of HT. 

Switzerland were in full control, but Aebischer’s goal still seemingly came out of nowhere, with the Bologna man brilliantly coming inside and bending a delicious strike around András Schäfer and into the corner.

Things didn’t immediately change following the restart, and Marco Rossi’s side had Gulácsi to thank for keeping the deficit at two after he thwarted shots from Duah and Vargas.

However, Hungary soon started to play to their strengths, and Barnabás Varga headed narrowly wide before pulling one back just moments later.

Dominik Szoboszlai’s inswinging crosses were proving dangerous, and he lifted one over to the far post for Hungarian league top scorer Varga to scramble into the net.

Varga's goal
Varga's goalStatsperform, AFP

 

The situation presented a significant challenge for Murat Yakin’s men, and their defending became fraught with anxiety as they looked to hold onto the slender lead.

The introduction of the formidable presence of Martin Ádám gave Hungary’s wide players even more to aim for in the area, but they weren’t able to forge the decisive opportunity, and Switzerland put the contest to bed in stoppage time when Breel Embolo capitalised on a poor defensive header and lifted a glorious lob over the onrushing goalkeeper.

Match stats
Match statsStatsperform

 

The result shows that form can often be disregarded when it comes to international tournaments, with Switzerland securing victory after a lacklustre qualifying campaign and Hungary recording just a second loss in 17 matches.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Michel Aebischer (Switzerland)

Check out all the match stats with Flashscore.