The Swiss women’s national team has been preparing for this game for a week. The playoffs against Wales in Zurich’s Letzigrund on Tuesday will be all about qualifying for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. If the Swiss win, they can take part in the World Cup in Canada for the second time since 2015.
The starting point of the game is attractive, especially since coach Nils Nielsen’s players favor the British Peninsula team, who only had difficulty in the first playoff round against Bosnia-Herzegovina and won only 1–0 in extra time. Was. Striker Ramona Bachchan sees in Welsh women a physically strong opponent who is well defended and compact, but lacks creativity in attack. “It certainly won’t be easy to score goals,” says Bachmann, but adds bluntly: “If we don’t win against an opponent like Wales, we have no place in the World Cup.”
Thoughts about the final whistle
Nielsen will be on the Swiss line for the 39th time as head coach. This is Darnier for Dane, who is leaving the association at the end of the year for family reasons. The 50-year-old has achieved a lot in his nearly four years at SFV, and will be very happy to help him bid Switzerland in the World Cup Down Under. Nielsen says it is becoming increasingly difficult to qualify for the tournament as other nations continue to improve. “If we can do that, it will be a great achievement.” Nielsen says he already had a mental picture of what it would be like when the final whistle blows and Switzerland has qualified. “Then I’ll be a very happy man.” The Welsh Girls are a very experienced side having played together for many years, so Nielsen expects their players to be patient against a well-mannered opponent.
When the Swiss had to go home after the preliminary round at the European Championships in England in the summer, criticism from the coach intensified and questions arose as to whether Nielsen’s management style would still suit this team. The Dane himself has also been wondering in recent weeks how he will be remembered in Switzerland. And he knows that the final performance against Wales will certainly have an impact on him. But he doesn’t let it come to him. He says: “I don’t care whether I’m remembered as a successful coach or a failed coach. If we don’t make it to the World Cup, the record will be broken. But if we do, we’ve chosen Two out of two potentially big tournaments. Nobody gets better than this.”
“A Ghostbuster Can Do Anything”
Nielsen recalls that in his early days at the SFV, the prevailing opinion was that Switzerland always failed when it really mattered. If they manage to qualify for the second time in a row after a win against the Czech Republic in the run-up to the Euros through the playoffs, hopefully this opinion will be refuted once and for all. “Then that ghost is gone, and a ghostbuster can do anything.”
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