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Doha (AFP) – Switzerland have the opportunity to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 1954 when they face Portugal at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday, but their coach, Murat Yakin, has stressed he never thinks about making history .
Switzerland have not reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup since hosting the finals 68 years ago, but at the time they were qualifying directly from the group stage to the quarter-finals without paying the final price due to the presence of four groups of four teams each (16 in total).
Switzerland’s run ended at the time, at the hands of Austria, with a 5-7 defeat, after which they also failed to secure any wins in the qualifying round as they dropped out of the final price in 1994, 2006, 2014 and 2018.
But Yakin believes the idea of facing Portugal should be motivation enough in itself for his side to try and reach the quarter-finals, saying on Monday, on the eve of the scheduled fixture in Lusail, ‘We realize that we are entering the match with a well-prepared and mature team”.
He continued: “The ability to write history will not be decisive for us. We know our opponents and we have shown that we are capable of defeating them. Then (after we win) we may be able to talk history … No one doesn’t worries more than what happened in the past.”
And he specified that his entire team is available for the match against Cristiano Ronaldo and his companions, without giving any hint of his basic squad, saying only: “We are ready. We have a full squad and the players who were absent have returned. “
Switzerland beat Portugal 1-0 in Geneva during the European Nations League in June, a week after losing 0-4 in Lisbon, but Yakin saw that matches like this don’t matter because “it’s been six months since last confrontation and this is a very long period”. In football we don’t know who plays with them, who plays in central defence. If we focus too much on the opponent, we lose concentration on ourselves.”
© 2022 AFP