Euro 2020 Group A match preview: Wales will be awkward opponent, predicts Switzerland coach

Switzerland’s coach Vladimir Petkovic looks on during a training session at Torpedo Stadium in Tolyatti. He expects an awkward encounter against Wales when they open their Euro 2020 campaign in Baku today. Image Credit: AFP

Baku: Switzerland expect an awkward encounter against Wales when they open their European Championship campaign in Baku today, Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic said.

The two countries kick off their Group A campaign in the Azerbaijan capital with Petkovic admitting he was unsure whether his team should take a cautious approach or go at their opponents from the outset.

“I think we need to be ready for either approach. Because it is the first match, you don’t necessarily know at what stage the teams are at. That goes for both Switzerland and Wales,” he told a news conference.

“They are certainly very tough opponents and they deserve the greatest of respect. They are awkward customers, very compact defensively and good in one against one situation,” he added of the Welsh who reached the semi-finals in 2016.

Final third

“They also have a lot of good quality in the final third of the pitch, both when they keep the ball but also when they play direct, with some talented players who know what they are doing.” But Petkovic, who took the Swiss to the last 16 of the previous European Championship in France as well as the 2018 World Cup, insisted the focus was more on his own side.

“As we’ve shown in recent times, we want to dominate proceedings, we want to get hold of the ball, we want to dictate the tempo of the game and we also want to have a cutting edge in the final third and score goals.

“And in order to do all of that we need to be very focused, make sure we defend even when we are in possession. It really matters how we approach the game right from the opening whistle and how we can ultimately make our efforts count,” he added.