The Swiss national team starred in one of the great surprises of the European qualifying phase for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, after snatching the direct ticket to the World Cup from Italy and condemning the Alpine team to the play-offs, after beating Bulgaria 4-0 .
It was not easy for the Swiss team that not only had to win against Bulgaria, but also add two more goals than those that Italy could score in their visit to Belfast to be able to overcome the current European champions in the standings.
But the Swiss team, which already left a very good impression in the draw (1-1) that it harvested last Friday against Roberto Mancini’s in Rome, never stopped believing in its possibilities.
And that the lack of success that the locals showed in the first half, in which Switzerland bottled Bulgaria from the opening whistle in their own area, seemed to complicate the win that Murat Yakin’s men needed to achieve the World Cup ticket.
However, everything changed when three minutes into the second half Noah Okafor headed a cross from Xherdan Saqiri to make it 1-0 for the Swiss team.
A goal that gave wings to Switzerland, which nine minutes later, in minute 57, achieved 2-0 when Rubén Vargas finished a good combination with Mario Gavranovic.
Result that together with the 0-0 that appeared at that time in the duel between Northern Ireland and Italy placed the Swiss team among the thirty-two teams that will play the World Cup event.
However, the Swiss players aware that a goal from Italy would relegate them to the playoffs did not stop looking for the rival goal in search of the long-awaited win.
An ambition that found its reward with a header from Cedric Itten, who established 3-0 in the 72nd minute that forced Italy to score two goals in Belfast if they wanted to avoid the playoffs.
Italian comeback that never came, unable to go from 0-0 against Northern Ireland, to the delight of a Swiss team, which rounded off the party with a goal (4-0) from Remo Freuler in the extension time, which definitively sealed the game. Murat Yakin’s ticket for the World Cup in Qatar.
4 – Switzerland: Sommer; Widmer, Frei, Schar (Sow, m.97), Mbabu; Zakaria, Freuler; Okafur (Steffen, m.68), Shaqiri (Aebischer, m.97), Vargas (Zeqiri, m.79) and Gavranovic (Itten, m.68)
0 – Bulgaria: Karadzhov; Turitsov (Velkovski, m.46), Hristov, Dimitrov, Tsvetanov; Nedelev, Kostadinov, Chochev (Ilien Iliev, m.65), Kirilov (Tsonev, m.70); Atanas Iliev (Minchev, m.46) and Despodov (Yankiv, m.80)
Goals: 1-0, m.48: Okafor. 2-0, m.57: Vargas. 3-0, m.72: Itten. 4-0, m.91: Freuler.
Referee: Benoit Bastien (FRA). He showed a yellow card to Freuler and Mbabu for Switzerland; and Turitsov and Hrsitov for Bulgaria.
Incidents: Meeting corresponding to the eighth and last day of group C of the European qualifying phase for the Qatar 2022 World Cup held at the Swissporarena in Lucerna (Switzerland) .EFE.