Xherdan Shaqiri stunner puts Switzerland on the brink of last 16 after Scotland draw – Firstpost

Xherdan Shaqiri and Switzerland players celebrate their goal against Scotland in Euro 2024. AP

Switzerland came within touching distance of a place in the last 16 at Euro 2024 as Xherdan Shaqiri’s stunning goal earned a 1-1 draw against Scotland on Wednesday.

Murat Yakin’s side fell behind after an early goal from Scott McTominay, which resulted in a big deflection off Swiss defender Fabian Schar.

But Shaqiri produced one of the goals of the tournament as the former Liverpool striker punished Anthony Ralston’s woeful backpass with a brilliant curler from 20 yards.

With honors even in Cologne, the Swiss sit second in Group A with four points, two behind Germany after the home side defeated Hungary 2-0 earlier on Wednesday.

Switzerland, who beat Hungary 3-1 in the opener, are not mathematically certain of reaching the knockout stages but are in a strong position heading into their final match against Germany.

“Shaqiri proved tonight that he lives and breathes for moments like that,” Yakin said.

“He really deserves that magical moment. He did the only thing he could do with that beautiful attack.

“It’s still very open. We will do everything we can to get out of the group.”

With the top four third-placed teams qualifying for the last 16, Scotland remain in the hunt to reach the knockout rounds of a major tournament for the first time.

Steve Clarke’s team restored their pride with a fighting display that erased the bitter taste of a miserable 5-1 defeat to Germany in the tournament opener.

Scotland have just one win in their last 11 matches, but a historic place in the last 16 is still possible if they can increase their goal difference with a big win against Hungary.

“It was a good response to a disappointing night against Germany,” said Clarke. “A heartbreaking moment for Ralston, but if it were up to another Swiss player, I don’t think he will score.

“I believe that if we get three points against Hungary, we will go to the next stage. We are a good team and we are still alive.”

– Primal scream –
After the humiliation of their meek surrender in Munich, the Scottish fans were desperate for any sign of improvement, no matter how small, and winning their first corner of the tournament provoked a primal scream from the Tartan Army.

That deafening noise set the tone for a thunderous Scotland start as they flew into tackles and pushed Switzerland into misplaced passes.

After one of those untimely Swiss errors, Scotland captain Andrew Robertson launched the game-changing break that put them ahead in the 13th minute.

Callum McGregor’s clever overlap gave him space inside the Swiss penalty area and he set up McTominay for a shot that went straight at goalkeeper Yann Sommer before Schar unnecessarily stuck his foot out and it ended up in his own net.

There was more than a hint of luck in Scotland’s opener, but they failed to capitalize on the momentum as Ralston gifted the Swiss an equalizer in the 26th minute.

Ralston played a suicidal backpass without looking, sent Shaqiri through on goal and the 32-year-old stroked a sublime strike into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Shaqiri’s majestic contribution rewarded Yakin’s decision to drop Kwadwo Duah, who had scored against Hungary, but made way for the former Liverpool striker’s seventh major tournament appearance, the most in his country’s history.

Shaqiri is the only player to score in the last three European Championships and the last three World Cups.

Revived by Shaqiri’s moment of magic, Switzerland had the momentum and Dan Ndoye’s curler forced a fine save from Angus Gunn.

Gunn saved well from Shaqiri’s powerful strike and Ndoye squandered a golden opportunity to put Switzerland ahead when he slotted wide of the goalkeeper to beat.

Scotland lost Kieran Tierney to a serious-looking injury, but almost took the lead with Grant Hanley’s header hitting the post from Robertson’s free-kick.

In an exciting final, Swiss Zeki Amdouni headed inches wide, but both teams finished happily with a point.

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