Ana Maria Crnogorcevic and Switzerland remained completely harmless at the World Cup. Keystone
If the situation does not change, the Swiss women’s team could experience great disappointment during Euro 2025 organized at home. These are the lessons to be learned from the World Cup.
raphael gutzwiller, auckland
The slap is brutal. Switzerland lost 5-1 in the round of 16 of the World Cup, “sometimes with the impression that the Spaniards were playing cat and mouse with us,” admitted captain Lia Wälti. The competition ended abruptly for the Nati, dominated from A to Z. Some sequences evoked a Cup match between two teams separated by several leagues apart. The Swiss had dreamed of a feat – the reality is totally different.
The Nati far from the world elite
The world elite of women’s football is light years away. While in Spain most professional players play for Barcelona or Real Madrid, the Swiss often play in their domestic league – which is largely an amateur league. The others are content with sporadic appearances in top clubs. Against Spain, the whole team seemed overwhelmed.
The World Cup had started well. Switzerland had reached the minimum objective of the round of 16, even finishing first in their group. She nevertheless benefited from a fairly easy draw. After their initial victory against the Philippines (2-0), the Nati made 0-0 against Norway and New Zealand. Admittedly, she hardly existed in attack, but thanks to her defensive solidity, she still managed to reach the knockout stages. Except that the first really good adversary made it possible to measure the distance which separates it from the leading nations.
The very personal choices of Inka Grings
Worse still: the Swiss women’s last really convincing game dates back to an eternity, precisely in November 2021 and a victory against Italy in World Cup qualifying. Since then, disappointments have followed. Inka Grings took over the team at the start of the year and won just one of their ten games. Against a modest Filipina. Even though the German shouldn’t fear for her position after achieving the initial objective, several topics will be discussed.
Some of his choices are debated, as always after a mini-trauma. Why did you leave the talented Riola Xhemaili at home? Against New Zealand, why did you replace the spearheads Ramona Bachmann and Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic when the score was 0-0, to the great amazement of the players?
In addition, the former FC Zurich coach makes herself vulnerable by betting excessively on her former club proteges. Seraina Piubel, Nadine Riesen and Julia Stierli hardly ever played under the direction of his predecessor Nils Nielsen, but they are now holders. All three FCZ players were convincing in the group stage, but they lacked quality and experience against Spain.
The fact is that Switzerland has few players of international level. Technical leaders Lia Wälti, Ramona Bachmann and Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic are all over 30 years old. A flagrant drop in quality already threatens the Nati if these three players retire after the European Championship in 2025. The next generation certainly has some talent, but it will take time to fill the gaps in the national team. The first problems will soon be evident, as goalkeeper Gaëlle Thalmann retires.
There are still too few good players from the next generation. While girls and boys are equally encouraged in many countries, the ASF has yet to act in this direction. Improvement is necessary if Switzerland does not want to lose contact with the big nations.
If the current trend continues, a debacle is likely to occur during the Euro at home in 2025. At European level, there are no easy opponents like New Zealand or the Philippines. Switzerland saw this last year in England, when they were eliminated with a single point in their group. After the World Cup, it is clear that the gap with the world elite has not narrowed. It may even have increased.
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