Outclassed Ireland must beat Denmark to reach finals
European Championship Qualifying Group D, Stade de Geneve - Switzerland 2 (Seferovic 16', Duffy pg 90+3') Ireland 0
Ireland endured a terrible night in Geneva, outclassed by an excellent Swiss side and losing both Shane Duffy and Seamus Coleman to suspension. They must now beat Denmark at home in their final game to reach the finals, having lost the same fixture, in the playoffs for the last World Cup, 1-5.
Knowing that they were out with a defeat, Switzerland attacked the game with intensity, dominating territory and possession from the off. The only surprise was that it took them 16 minutes to score, Haris Seferovic driving low past Darren Randolph from just outside the box.
Though Switzerland continued to play well, Ireland managed to keep the score to one before coming out for the second half with renewed vigour. But they lacked the craft to create anything of note and then, on 76 minutes, Coleman handled Breel Embolo's shot. He was duly sent off for a second yellow card and though Randolph saved Ricardo Rodriguez's penalty, the man advantage told and in the final minute of injury-time, Duffy could only divert Edmilson Fernandes' shot into the net.
So, Ireland still have a chance of qualifying for the big party - but they'll have to play a lot better than this.
What was Mick McCarthy thinking? Switzerland had played well in defeat to Denmark last time out, and McCarthy was impressed. But in deciding to mirror their formation, he inconvenienced his own team for no gain: Ireland needed to exploit where Switzerland were weak, not match them up, because when that happens, the better outfit nearly always win.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Breel Embolo (Switzerland) The best player on the pitch by far, running at the Irish defence, committing men and creating space.
Switzerland: Sommer 6, Elvedi 6, Schar 7, Akanji 6, Lichsteiner 6, Zakaria 6, Xhaka 6, Rodriguez 7, Embolo 8, Seferovic 7, Mehmedi 6. Subs: Fernandes 7, Steffen 7, Freuler 6.
Ireland have lost for the first time since Mick McCarthy returned as manager; in his first stint as manager, he also lost his last game to Switzerland.
Haris Seferovic has been directly involved in 10 goals - eight goals and two assists - in his last eight home internationals.
6’ - Switzerland are in the mood, passing and moving nicely through midfield to make space for a Xhaka shot ... and he unloads a low one which bounces in front of Randolph, but the keeper does well to shove away.
16’ - GOAL! Switzerland 1-0 Ireland (Seferovic) Ireland cede possession sloppily and then Zakaria marches through Whelan to win a high ball, finding Zakaria who finds Seferovic, 20 yards out ... and he drives left-footed and low, through Duffy's legs and across Randolph into the far corner! Game on!
44’ - Nice from Switzerland, Xhaka finding Fernandes who chips towards Seferovic at the back post as Coleman overshoots his covering run. So Seferovic gets the ball down as he comes inside, but then launches his shot to infinity and beyond.
52’ - Saaaaaved! Rodrgiuez swerves in hard and Seferovic is up, glancing hard from close range and forcing Randolph to fling up a hand; the resultant corner comes to nowt.
76’ - Ireland haven't made a proper chance, and here come Switzerland again, Xhaka cutting the ball back into the box, Embolo shooting after a scramble ... AND THE REF POINTS TO THE SPOT, THEN COLEMAN IS SHOWN A SECOND YELLOW CARD! HE MUST'VE BLOCKED WITH A HAND!
77’ - Up steps Rodriguez, he's been striking the ball so nicely tonight. But he stutters, telegraphs, AND RANDOLPH TURNS HIS KICK ONTO THE POST, THEN BROWNE SCOOPS THE REBOUND OUT OF DANGER! IRELAND ARE STILL IN THE GAME! JUST!
90+3’ - GOAL! Switzerland 2-0 Ireland (Duffy own-goal) Ireland can't cope a man down and Steffen sildes a pass to Fernandes on the right of the box, who plants a sidefooter past Randolph, which Duffy, sliding in from the other side, diverts into the opposite corner. áÿ¿m