Euro 2016: Switzerland vs France - 5 players to watch out for
With a place in the Round of 16 assured, France go into this Group A encounter of UEFA Euro 2016 with one eye on the upcoming fixtures. However, what might seem like a dead rubber, has a lot of meaning to it. France and Switzerland sit first and second respectively in this group and a win for either team would see them finish as toppers from Group A who will face one of the top third-placed teams.
Finishing second would require them to play the second-placed team in Group C which at the moment looks to be Poland or Germany, whom both teams would want to avoid. The onus is on Switzerland to get at least a point and finish second, as the third place might not be enough to put them through.
France come into this match after back to back wins against Romania and Albania. They nipped Romania 2-1 via a late Dimitri Payet goal and overcame Albania with two late goals which saw them win the fixture 2-0. France are one of the favourites to win the tournament and there’s no way better to win it on home soil.
Switzerland have had a decent performance coming into this Group A tie. They won their first match 1-0 against Albania and only managed a 1-1 tie against Romania. They’ll need at least one point to seal their second spot in the group. Switzerland will look to stage an upset against France who are yet to look convincing in the competition despite their wins.
We look at five players who might be the difference between the two teams.
1) Dimitri Payet
The West Ham United midfielder has had a sensational start to the European Championships this year. He struck a brace into the top corner late in the game against Romania which proved to be the decider. He was influential again in the second match against Albania and scored the second goal for Les Blues in injury time as they beat Albania 2-0.
Dimitri Payet has had a season to cherish. He was one of the best players in the Premier League for Slaven Bilic’s West Ham United and has brought his club form to the international level at the Euros this year.
France coach, Didier Deschamps summed up Payet’s performance against Romania. He said,” Payet made the difference today. He’s an attacking player but he's also someone who helps out the team. It's quite easy in football when you can bang it in the top corner – it solves quite a lot of problems!”
Payet will be crucial in the match against Switzerland and in France’s Euro conquest. Depending on the system Deschamps will undertake, Payet might be given the role as a winger or in the hole behind the striker. In any case, the French attacker has the qualities to impress and even score again against Switzerland which France will be hoping he does.