Granit Xhaka said Switzerland “can beat anyone” at the World Cup after Breel Embolo’s goal secured a 1-0 victory over Cameroon in their opening match yesterday.
The Swiss have reached the last 16 at the last two World Cups but play tournament favourites Brazil next before concluding their Group G campaign against Serbia.
Switzerland made the quarter-finals at Euro 2020 after knocking out current world champions France and Xhaka feels his side could be one of the dark horses in Qatar.
“It is not chance, when you look at the last 10 to 12 years we have been in the main tournaments,” the Swiss captain said.
“Brazil is the favourite for the tournament in my view. We have to bother them as we did in 2018.
“Switzerland drew 1-1 with Brazil in their first game at the 2018 World Cup, where they also beat Serbia 2-1 thanks to goals from Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri.
“I think Brazil can put three teams in the starting 11. Huge, huge talents. Big, big quality,” said Xhaka.
“But it is one game over 90 minutes. Anything can happen in one game. We need to be very compact and not make stupid mistakes because you pay for that.
“Our team is much more experienced than four years ago. We’re looking forward to our next match. On our day we can beat anyone.”
Meanwhile, Iran manager Carlos Queiroz confronted a BBC journalist who asked about the protests in the country – and demanded to know why she didn’t ask England boss Gareth Southgate about British policy in Afghanistan.
Queiroz was incensed that BBC Persia reporter Shaimaa Khalil asked striker Mehdi Taremi about the protests sparked by the death of young woman Mahsa Amini in the country, at a press conference before the national team’s match against Wales on Saturday.
Former Manchester United No 2 Queiroz approached Khalil after the press conference and said: ‘I’m asking you one thing now. Why don’t you ask questions to other coaches about other cultures? That’s only fair.
‘Why don’t you ask Southgate: ‘What do you think about England and the United States that left Afghanistan and all the women alone?’
A scrum of journalists gathered, as Khalil defended her right to ask these questions, before Queiroz eventually left the room.
The episode demonstrated that the protests are affecting the manager and the team, who refused to sing the national anthem before losing 6-2 to England, in an act of solidarity with the protestors.
Taremi, who came under criticism after celebrating a goal in a pre-tournament warm-up game against Uruguay, had twice said he would not say more on the protests, when Khalil asked him: ‘Your fans have been here cheering for you.
‘Your fans are back home cheering for you. There are also people on the street. What’s your message for the protestors on the street back in Iran?’ – AFP-dailymailonline.