LILLE, France (AP) — Set pieces have so far brought Switzerland four points at the European Championship and a likely place in the knockout stages of the tournament.
But as coach Vladimir Petkovic made clear on Saturday, it will take a lot more than that to beat host nation France in their final Group A match on Sunday.
Though forwards like Haris Seferovic and Xherdan Shaqiri have had chances in open play, both of Switzerland’s goals so far at Euro 2016 have come from corners kicks, in a 1-0 win against Albania and a 1-1 draw with Romania.
“I don’t think (set pieces) will be enough,” Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said through an interpreter, a day before his team can guarantee its place in the knockout stage of the competition for the first time.
“There are other aspects of the game that will be important, too,” Petkovic added. “We need to be well organized, compact, run a great deal, and have a lot of desire to play football.”
Switzerland will secure a spot in the last 16 with a draw, and could even afford to lose. The four best third-place teams will also go through.
A win, though, would see the Swiss grab top spot in the group from France, a team that happens to be vulnerable to set pieces.
“France is the favorite for the group, and also the favorite for the competition as a whole,” Petkovic said. “We can see how much pressure there has been on the French team from the media. They have done very well in terms of results and their way of playing. But we want to show that we are equally great.”
Switzerland doesn’t have fond memories of playing its neighbor at major competitions.
They have met once before at a European Championship — in 2004 in Portugal, when France won 3-1. More recently, Switzerland was routed 5-2 at the World Cup in Brazil two years ago.
Aiming for revenge, however, was not on the minds of the Swiss team.
“The teams are different, and you learn from such a defeat,” midfielder Blerim Dzemaili said. “If we are better than two years ago, we’ll see tomorrow.”
Even if winning is not a must, Switzerland is eager to get the most out of the match. A good result against France would give the team a lift ahead of the knockout stage.
“France has a lot of individual quality and plays well as a team,” midfielder Granit Xhaka said. “But for us, it’s good if we can annoy the big teams a bit.”
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