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Spain v Switzerland Live Commentary, 9/24/22

FT
1 - 2
ESP
SUI
Jordi Alba (55)
M. Akanji (21)
B. Embolo (58)
Estadio de la Romareda

Commentary

That concludes our commentary of the Nations League group A fixture between Spain and Switzerland! We hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Spain end their Nations League campaign away from home against leaders Portugal on September 27, while Switzerland play the Czech Republic on the same day.
Spain could not turn their dominant possession and passing statistics into a win as Switzerland take all three points from La Romareda after a 2-1 victory. Akanji’s opener from a corner in the first half was negated by a lovely Alba strike 10 minutes after the restart. A mad three minutes would ensue, ending in the winning goal - turned past Simon by Garcia following another dangerous Vargas set-piece. Luis Enrique’s side found it easy to get the ball into the opponent’s half but despite a host of attacking substitutions, they were unable to display clinical finishing as Sommer was equal to every effort. The win puts Spain second in the group while the win brings Switzerland up to third!
90' + 5' FULL-TIME: SPAIN 1-2 SWITZERLAND.
90' + 3' With just a couple of minutes left in the match Spain are still finding it difficult to unlock the defence. Steffen is doing an admirable job against the fresh legs of Williams, who is looking to get in behind his opponent at every opportunity.
90' + 1' The fourth official indicates five minutes will be added to the end of the match for stoppages.
89' Spain have now conceded at least two goals in two of their last four matches but have not allowed three in a game since a 3-2 loss in the Nations League to Croatia in 2018; 43 fixtures ago.
Carlos Soler
César Azpilicueta
Spain
87' Azpilicueta is withdrawn with three minutes to go. Soler is his replacement.
H. Seferović
B. Embolo
Switzerland
87' Seferovic is sent on for Embolo in the late stages of the match.
85' Gavi takes the ball into the penalty area and goes down under pressure from Zakaria but the referee allows play to continue as Xhaka coolly plays it back to Sommer for the booming clearance.
83' Williams beats Steffen with a clever touch to take the ball inside before playing a pass through the lines for Llorente but the midfielder is unable to keep it in play before dispatching a cross, giving Sommer a goal-kick.
J. Omlin
Yellow Card
Switzerland
82' Backup goalkeeper Omlin is shown a yellow card from the bench after yelling at the referee for not awarding a foul in midfield to Switzerland.
81' Iglesias receives a pass from Busquets in midfield and immediately looks to flick it over the top for the pace of Williams but Akanji reads the danger and rises to head the ball away - preventing Sommer from being called into action.
M. Aebischer
R. Vargas
Switzerland
79' Yakin makes a switch in midfield with Aebischer replacing Vargas.
77' Switzerland have scored more than a single goal against Spain for the first time since their first-ever meeting; a 2-2 draw in March 1957.
75' Pino looks to curl the free-kick around the wall but he catches the head of Steffen, who turns it behind for a corner.
74' Elvedi drags Iglesias to the floor rather cynically, giving Spain a free-kick just over 25 yards from goal.
72' Spain have all 10 outfield players camped in Switzerland’s half as they look for a way through the block but they’re finding it difficult to play through, with the trio of Zakaria, Elvedi and Akanji keeping very tight and rigid. It’s been a problem all match with Spain’s only goal coming from build-up play down the wing.
Marcos Llorente
Pedri
Spain
70' Atletico Madrid's Llorente comes on for Pedri with just over a quarter-hour to go.
D. Ndoye
X. Shaqiri
Switzerland
68' Shaqiri lasts just under 70 minutes with Ndoye sent on in his stead.
D. Zakaria
D. Sow
Switzerland
68' Zakaria comes on for Sow as Yakin looks for defensive stability with just over 20 minutes left.
67' Alba looks to whip a cross around the defensive line for Iglesias but Akanji sticks out a leg and manages to block the delivery while preventing it from going behind for a corner.
65' A third goal for Portugal - and a second for Dalot - has seemingly put the other match in group A beyond doubt, with Spain still looking for a way to draw points out of this game.
Borja Iglesias
Marco Asensio
Spain
63' Asensio's match comes to an end with an assist to his name as Iglesias is introduced.
Yeremy Pino
Ferran Torres
Spain
63' A swap on the right wing sees Pino come on for Ferran Torres.
Nico Williams
Pablo Sarabia
Spain
63' Williams comes on for Sarabia as Spain begin to make changes.
62' ALMOST ANOTHER FOR SWITZERLAND! Widmer’s cross from the right draws out Simon but Vargas beats the goalkeeper for the ball in the air. The winger is unable to turn it over the line with his first or second attempt as Pau Torres and Garcia converge to prevent it from rolling in the open goal!
60' It’s been a crazy five minutes but the visitors once again lead, with Vargas’ corner-kicks proving very difficult to deal with for Luis Enrique’s side. The hosts played with such positivity en-route to equalising but it’s all for naught as they must once again dig themselves out of a hole.
B. Embolo
Goal
Switzerland
58' SWITZERLAND RESPOND! 2-1 TO THE VISITORS! Again Spain concede on a set-piece, with Vargas’ corner meeting Akanji at the near post. The centre-back manages to flick the ball back towards the six-yard box for Embolo but it’s turned in by Garcia for the own goal!
M. Akanji
Assist
Switzerland
58' Assist Manuel Obafemi Akanji
57' The goal keeps Spain in second place - one point behind Portugal - but it drops Switzerland back down into fourth place, level with the Czech Republic.
Marco Asensio
Assist
Spain
55' Asensio shows his quality with a lovely mazy run before finding Alba for the assist.
Jordi Alba
Goal
Spain
55' SPAIN FIND THE EQUALISER! 1-1! Asensio drives towards goal, evading both Elvedi and Akanji as he slaloms towards the penalty area before laying a pass off to the left for Alba. The Barcelona full-back takes a touch to set himself before dispatching a shot high into the roof of the net!
54' Switzerland have not beaten Spain since a match in the group stage of World Cup 2010, with a single goal from Gelson Fernandes settling the tie.
52' Ferran Torres and Asensio link up beautifully on the right wing, putting the former in a position to whip in a cross. Sarabia meets the ball at the far post and looks to fire a shot but his chested first touch is poor, sending it behind for a goal-kick.
50' Portugal have added a second goal through Bruno Fernandes, which is bad news for Spain who will remain in second place unless they can manage to overturn the deficit and beat Switzerland.
48' Asensio plays a pass back to Busquets, who immediately releases a pass over the top for Gavi. The midfielder looks to charge on to the lifted delivery but Sommer is quick off his line and out of his box to deal with the danger.
46' Switzerland get the match restarted from the kick-off!
R. Steffen
R. Rodríguez
Switzerland
46' Steffen comes on for Rodriguez in a half-time change for Switzerland.
Spain’s fluid attacking trio has done well to get the ball to the box but perhaps Luis Enrique will require a more physical presence at the top-end of the pitch, with both Morata and Iglesias waiting for their opportunities. Pino and Williams could also be an asset for their pace lat ein the match, while Switzerland will look to keep things organised and compact with no spaces left in behind. Both Schar and Zakaria are experienced defensive-minded options for the middle of the park, while Fulham’s Mbabu may come on to freshen up the legs at full-back.
Switzerland take a 1-0 lead into the half-time interval, despite having the tempo of the match dictated by their opponents. Spain looked for possession early and often as they played neat passing triangles to move the ball from defence to attack. Once there however it was much for difficult for Luis Enrique’s side to operate, with the organised Swiss defence crowding out the multitude of Spain attackers. Yakin’s team were not able to produce many forays forward but made the most of their set-pieces, scoring through Akanji’s header after a Vargas corner 21 minutes into the match.
45' + 1' HALF-TIME: SPAIN 0-1 SWITZERLAND.
M. Akanji
Yellow Card
Switzerland
44' Akanji is shown a yellow for protesting a foul called after a Xhaka shove on Gavi. The referee wasn’t prepared to pull out a card but after hearing a bit too much from the Manchester City defender he eventually produces one.
43' Shaqiri eases into the penalty area with silky dribbling and gets the better of Pau Torres before firing an acute-angle shot that’s parried by Simon at the near post!
41' With just under five minutes left to go in the half, Luis Enrique will be imploring his side to play with more incision. Getting the ball from back to front has been relatively simple for the hosts but they’ve often failed to break through the defensive line and trouble the goalkeeper once there.
39' Azpilicueta comes inside and looks to take the role of playmaker, hitting a pass with his laces looking for Alba on the edge of the penalty area but it’s intercepted by Widmer.
37' Portugal have taken the lead in their match with the Czech Republic, when coupled with the result in Zaragoza means Spain drop to second while Switzerland climb to third - at least temporarily.
35' Xhaka’s take from the right is played to Widmer on the edge of the penalty area before receiving the ball back and delivering a cross from a changed angle. The routine doesn’t fail Pau Torres though, as the centre-back blocks it out for a throw-in.
33' Vargas’ second corner isn’t as effective as his first delivery, with Pau Torres getting to the ball easily and nodding it over the crossbar for a retake on the other side.
31' Ferran Torres manages to wedge himself between the byline and Rodriguez as he gets into the penalty area but Gavi is unable to fire a shot after receiving the ball with his back to goal as Switzerland manage to squeeze their opponents out of their 18-yard box.
29' Pedri again steps inside and looks to play a wicked curling cross towards the far post but he again fails to put the ball where he wants it as he directs his effort right into the arms of an awaiting Sommer.
27' Pedri receives a pass from Busquets 25 yards from goal and looks to play a pass around the corner for Alba, but the midfielder puts too much power on his delivery as it eventually rolls behind for a goal-kick after seemingly staying in play for a second after hitting the corner-flag.
25' Vargas and Gavi get into a bit of a shoving match in front of the match official after the Switzerland winger left his leg in to try and win the ball. The referee is there to separate the two as tempers begin to flare in Zaragoza.
23' Sarabia cuts inside and hits a powerful strike towards goal looking to immediately equalise but a deflection on the way through takes it behind for a corner.
R. Vargas
Assist
Switzerland
21' Vargas makes the most of his side's first corner-kick of the match, putting his delivery right onto the head of Akanji!
M. Akanji
Goal
Switzerland
21' THE VISITORS NOD THEMSELVES AHEAD! 1-0! Vargas’ accurate corner-kick is met outside the six-yard box by Akanji, who puts his header just past the outstretched arm of Simon!
20' Rodriguez takes a throw-in close to the opposition’s corner-flag to Embolo, who meets the ball with a clever flick to win a corner for his side.
18' Despite having the ball for just over a quarter of the time, Switzerland have managed one more shot than their opponents, with Yakin’s side employing a very direct mentality after winning the ball back.
16' Under relatively little pressure from their opponents, the Spain centre-backs keep it between themselves and Simon. The forwards look back expectedly in anticipation of a ball played forward but Garcia throws his hands up and shrugs as he kicks it back to the goalkeeper.
14' Xhaka steps up and hits a low drive towards Simon’s target but the weak effort fails to trouble the goalkeeper.
13' Shaqiri slips Embolo through on goal but the forward goes over under a bit of a push from Garcia. The visitors look around in shock demanding a free-kick but the referee is happy to let play continue.
11' Sarabia glides towards the penalty area and looks to put a pass behind Elvedi for Asensio but the Real Madrid forward is unable to react in time as the centre-back eases over and intercepts the ball.
9' Spain are looking to keep possession in traditional style, inviting defenders forward before exposing the space in behind with neat passing triangles. Switzerland will have to remain regimented and organised if they want to withstand the pressure of wave after wave of cautious attack.
7' Gavi looks to break through the lines and get on the end of Ferran Torres’ clever pass but the Barcelona midfielder is unable to hold his line as Akanji and Elvedi time their step to perfection, winning a free-kick for offside.
5' Widmer drives a low cross into the penalty area after being invited down the flank by Shaqiri but the delivery fails to find the run of Embolo before the linesman’s flag goes up for offside on the full-back.
3' Luis Enrique today has opted to line his side up without a traditional striker, with Asensio occupying the centre-forward position. The coach does have options to change things up from the bench however, with both Morata and Iglesias able to occupy the opposing centre-backs physically.
1' Spain get the match underway from the kick-off!
Switzerland make two changes from the side that beat Portugal 1-0 on June 12 - one at either end of the pitch. Sommer returns to take his place in goal replacing Omlin, while Vargas is chosen over Seferovic in attack.
Spain make eight changes from the XI that beat the Czech Republic last time out. Alba and Azpilicueta are in for Dani Carvajal and Marcos Alonso at full-back, while Pau Torres is preferred to Inigo Martinez at centre-back. Wholesale changes in midfield see the Barcelona trio of Pedri, Busquets and Gavi chosen instead of Koke, Rodri and Soler and two switches in the front line mean Ferran Torres and Sarabia play either side of Asensio - not Morata and Dani Olmo.
SWITZERLAND SUBS: Kevin Mbabu, Jonas Omlin, Denis Zakaria, Fabian Frei, Eray Comert, Michel Aebischer, Cedric Itten, Renato Steffen, Yvon Mvogo, Fabian Schar, Dan Ndoye, Haris Seferovic.
SWITZERLAND XI (4-2-3-1): Yann Sommer; Silvan Widmer, Manuel Akanji, Nico Elvedi, Ricardo Rodriguez; Remo Freuler, Granit Xhaka; Djibril Sow, Xherdan Shaqiri, Ruben Vargas; Breel Embolo.
SPAIN SUBS: Borja Iglesias, Yeremi Pino, Nico Williams, Marcos Llorente, Hugo Guillamon, Alvaro Morata, Robert Sanchez, Rodri, Jose Gaya, Carlos Soler, David Raya.
SPAIN XI (4-3-3): Unai Simon; Jordi Alba, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, Cesar Azpilicueta; Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Gavi; Pablo Sarabia, Marco Asensio, Ferran Torres.
With 15 minutes to go before kick-off, let's take a look at how the two sides are lining up - starting with our hosts!
Sitting bottom with three points, Switzerland will need to add to their win over Portugal last time out if they are to give themselves a chance of staving off relegation. Murat Yakin’s side lost by a narrow 1-0 margin last time they met Luis Enrique’s; making it five without victory against Spain.
Spain are looking to preserve their undefeated record in group A, drawing their opening two fixtures before back-to-back clean sheet victories took them to the top of the section. La Roja could guarantee a first-place finish today should results go their way in the concurrent match between the Czech Republic and Portugal.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the Nations League group A fixture between Spain and Switzerland!