Swiss coach unconvinced after nervy 1-0 win over Albania in Euro 2016 opener

Fabian Schaer heads in Shaqiri corner to seal unconvincing win in group A

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 June, 2016, 10:14pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 June, 2016, 2:11am

Switzerland opened their Euro 2016 campaign on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Albania but coach Vladimir Petkovic bemoaned his side’s inability to kill off their opponents after they were reduced to 10 men.

Fabian Schaer put the Swiss 1-0 up after only five minutes and Albania’s problems became worse when captain Lorik Cana was dismissed in the 36th minute.

Petkovic’s man created several chances but their Group A rivals produced a gutsy performance and were still in the game until the final whistle.

“It’s very positive we created a lot of opportunities. We simply needed to kill off the match,” the Swiss coach told a news conference.

Petkovic said his team started well but did not keep up their early momentum.

“We almost took two steps back and slowed down, we weren’t the side we had been in the first 20 minutes. It was our fault that they [Albania] grew into the match,” he added.

Petkovic said it was an emotional match for many of his squad who have Albanian or Kosovo-Albanian roots.

Swiss player Granit Xhaka, whose brother Taurat featured for Albania, said it felt more like an away match given the visible and vocal support for the opposition.

Valon Behrami was the subject of booing but he said it had almost been expected.

“I was calm. I knew this game was going to be difficult, I prepared for that for two months,” said the Swiss midfielder.

“There was a difficult atmosphere because six of our players were born there and it was difficult also because the public were 80 per cent for the Albanian side.”

Switzerland travel to Paris on Wednesday to face Romania knowing another victory will guarantee their passage to the knockout stages for the first time after three failed attempts.

Petkovic said Romania would pose a threat despite their 2-1 defeat by hosts France on Friday.

“I haven’t focused on analysing it yet but we saw France really struggling against them. They are an excellent side that are set up well,” he explained.

While a draw might suit the Swiss, Petkovic said it was not his plan to go for anything other than victory.

“Just because we have three points we cannot think that everything is done,” he added.