Murat Yakin promises Switzerland ‘will cause England problems’ in Düsseldorf

Murat Yakin has guaranteed “we will cause England problems”, as his Switzerland side begin their final preparations for the showdown in Düsseldorf.

Switzerland have beaten Italy and held Germany in the ­tournament and Yakin said his team had no fear of “playing our game” against more favoured nations as they built towards the “big highlight” of a quarter-final.

“England have a lot of quality,” Yakin said. “We don’t know what they plan to do but we have shown already that we can mix it against big teams – against the defending champions [Italy] and the hosts [Germany]. We will cause England problems.”

England’s scratchy form has ­obviously not gone unnoticed by their opponents, but Yakin believes that even if Gareth Southgate’s side click into gear, it should not cause Switzerland to change their approach.

“I assume that England has enough quality to play well in a quarter-final,” he said. “But we are in good shape and have shown that we are ready to upset big teams. Why not give big England a problem and play our game and see what happens?”

The 49-year-old is not expected to make many changes to the side that overwhelmed Italy in Berlin, although the wing-back Silvan Widmer is available again after suspension.

Yakin confirmed that the ­captain, Granit Xhaka, was fit to start after spending much of the buildup in individual training managing a long-term adductor muscle injury. “We are 100% confident in him and he will play a great game with his team,” he said.

Yakin is enjoying the most settled period of his three years as manager, barely a year after having to endure calls that he should be replaced. It was in Düsseldorf that Yakin took Xhaka to dinner last autumn in an attempt to rebuild their ­relationship, a moment seen as key to the team’s current ­stability. There has been no ­discontent within the camp in ­Germany nor any on-field ­controversy as at previous ­tournaments, and Yakin said he was in “a good position” regarding his team.

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“Everyone is working towards a common goal,” he said. “We’re happy to be here, living the moment. The mood in the camp is very good. We are developing together.”

Asked whether this was the biggest game of his tenure, Yakin responded wryly: “I’ve been asked about it in the last few games – I hope you’ll remind me again next week. Sure, but it’s a big highlight. You can ask me again next week.”

The Guardian

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