Switzerland gave no room for surprises and debuted with a victory against Hungary

Switzerland gave no room for surprises and debuted with a victory against Hungary
Switzerland gave no room for surprises and debuted with a victory against Hungary

“Fondue is better than goulash”, declared a sign held by a Swiss supporter in one of the stands of the Cologne Stadium. The gastronomic controversy will remain open, but the football counterpoint was settled this Saturday: The Swiss national team beat Hungary 3 to 1 in the debut of both in group A of Euro 2024, which also includes Germany and Scotland.

Although there is still a lot of water to flow under the bridge, this match seemed marked to define the companion of the local team in the trip to the round of 16, especially after seeing the overwhelming debut of the Teutons against the weak British. In this sport, logic insists on constantly fighting with facts; However, the Swiss took a key step towards direct elimination instances.

Hungary had landed on German soil with a very positive recent record (it had only lost one of its last 16 games and had gone through its qualifying group undefeated), with a very interesting crop of footballers and the potential surprise of this tournament. Switzerland, on the other hand, had arrived whistling softly and with several members of an already veteran golden generation that, for the most part, is close to giving cheers.

With a patient and careful game, the Swiss managed to get the task on track quickly and to do so it was of great help to hit at their first clear chance. At 12 minutes, Michel Aebischer filtered a pinpoint pass, Milos Kerkez took the step forward a moment late and left Kwadwo Duah enabled, who beat the Hungarian defenders and beat goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi. The striker, who had made his debut with his team 11 days ago in a friendly against Estonia, had to postpone his shout for a few seconds because the Slovenian referee Slavko Vinčić initially annulled the maneuver due to an alleged advanced position, but reversed his decision at the direction of those in charge of the video assistance system.

The shock did not wake up the Magyars, who watched helplessly as their rival, with Granite Xhaka As master and lord of the middle, he played the ball like a hypnotist who makes a pocket watch swing before the stunned gaze of his counterpart. The most destabilizing Hungarian footballer, Dominik Szoboszlai (this Saturday he became the youngest captain in the history of the Euro, at 23 years and 233 days old), almost did not come into contact with the ball in the first 45 minutes.

A header from defender Willi Orbán, after a free kick from Szoboszlai, which goalkeeper Yann Sommer controlled without too much difficulty was the only excursion with some risk in the Swiss area in that first period of those led by the Italian Marco Rossi, who, To make matters worse, they received another blow just before halftime: a beautiful right hand from outside the area by Aebischer stretched the income of those led by Murat Yakin.

After the break, the Hungarians returned to the field with new vigor, pressing further forward and exploiting their direct play much better, although also making mistakes in defense that made them constantly dance over a cliff. Heads or tails and with Szoboszlai much more active, they became convinced that the tie was not a chimera.

They perceived the stoppage much closer when at 21 minutes, after a neat collective play that was born at the feet of goalkeeper Gulácsi, Szoboszlai dispatched a cross from the left and Barnabas Varga, who had warned a little while before, won the fight against Aebischer at the far post and he discounted head on.

This Hungarian team is very far from those Magical Magyars by Ferenc Puskás, Sándor Kocsis and Zoltán Czibor who were world runners-up in 1954. But at least this modern version of the team from the former socialist republic showed rebellion in reacting to adversity. Until the last moment they pushed for a tie in an attractive, open match with an uncertain ending. But in added time Sommer took a long shot, Orbán failed in an attempted header and Breel Embolo, who had come on for Ruben Vargas, made it 3 to 1.

After this victory, Switzerland will be able to secure its place in the round of 16 on Wednesday at 4pm, when it will face Scotland in Cologne. For its part, Marco Rossi’s team will play its future in this Euro on the same day, but at 1 p.m. and in Stuttgart, against Germany. The mission seems very complicated, but a recent precedent invites hope: the Hungarians defeated the Teutons in Leipzig in September 2022 in the League of Nations.

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