Euro 2016: Romania v Switzerland - Expert v Expert Preview

Both countries experienced differing results in their first matches at Euro 2016, but whereas Romania took heart from their late defeat to France, Switzerland were criticised by many for a poor performance in their 1-0 win over 10-man Albania.

The Parc des Princes provides the setting for this Group A contest, with former Romania, Tottenham and West Ham midfielder Ilie Dumitrescu previewing his country, and European football writer Ben Lyttleton giving us the lowdown on the Swiss.  



France v Romania - Group A: UEFA Euro 2016 : News Photo

Ilie Dumitrescu on Romania: In the opening game against France, Romania showed no hesitation. Anghel Iordanescu’s squad did more than Romanian fans expected to witness and they have been praised by the opponents and the international press.

For the clash against Switzerland, Iordanescu is preparing two important moves and the involved players are Florin Andone and Adi Popa. Both of them did a good job in the match against France, putting pressure permanently on the opponent’s defenders, but Iordanescu looks pretty decided to give chances to Claudiu Keseru and Gabriel Torje.

The atmosphere inside the squad is a fine one and as we could see in the last interviews, they look quite confident of their abilities.

Ben Lyttleton on Switzerland: The good news for Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic after the first-round 1-0 win over Albania is that his squad have a clean bill of health. The bad news? They were poor against a side that played with ten men for almost an hour, and their best player was goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who kept their lead as Albania pressed for an equaliser.

The Swiss press did not go too hard on the team, accepting that in this game at least, the result was more important than the performance. It was pretty clear that Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka were nervous during the game, given their links to the opponents (Xhaka was facing his brother) and there is widespread relief that the opener is out of the way.

Once again, talk over whether Haris Seferovic should start at centre-forward continues. He might get one more start before Breel Embolo, who was a handful in his sub appearance, gets a start.



Dumitrescu: The strong attitude of Iordanescu’s team showed in the match against France was significant in the statistics too. Romania had a decent possession, passing 280 times and managing to complete 199 of them.

The previous meetings against Switzerland are perfectly balanced. Each side obtained five victories and two of the games ended up as draws. The last game between these two ended 1-0 for Romania in a friendly played in 2012. The last official game against Switzerland brings us back bad memories, though.

It happened in U.S.A. in ’94, Switzerland beating our “golden generation” 4-1 in a group stage game.

Lyttleton: It’s hardly scary.

Switzerland were indebted to Sommer for protecting their fourth-minute lead after Fabian Schar headed home a corner; they failed to double their lead despite opportunities on the break, and even though underdogs Albania were a man down, they still created lots of chances.

Opponents who watched that opening game will not be too concerned. When Petkovic was asked if France and Romania were favourites in the group, he did not argue.



France v Romania - Group A: UEFA Euro 2016 : News Photo

Dumitrescu: As I said before the opening game, Nicusor Stanciu had an important role for Romania against France, and he received the highest rank in the team from the French journalists.

I think Stanciu is going to have more space this time because of Switzerland’s tactics which involves only two defensive midfielders. Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami are great players, but both of them have more offensive skills. Stanciu can go further than his direct opponent and he also can offer fantastic passes. I hope he will take these skills on the pitch on the clash against Switzerland.

Lyttleton: Sommer. The outstanding player on Saturday, the Borussia Moenchengladbach number one kept his side ahead with a marvellous late save from his former FC Basel team-mate Shkelzen Gashi.

Given that Romania fashioned plenty of chances against France, he will need to continue that form in Paris. “He has the potential to play for one of the world’s very big clubs,” said ex-Switzerland boss Ottmar Hitzfeld.



Dumitrescu: I really like Unibet’s ‘stat bets’ and the one I’m going for here is over 3.5 offsides at 1.57.

The bet is based on statistics and on the way these teams are playing their defensive style, sometimes pushing the offside limit. In the match between Albania and Switzerland there were eight offsides, while Romania had six offsides in their previous game.

Lyttleton: Haris Seferovic to be subbed before scoring/booked at 2.35

The debate over Switzerland’s strikers continues to bubble away, but it looks like Seferovic will once again get the nod ahead of Breel Embolo and Eren Derdiyok. One more blank in front of goal might force Petkovic to change things.



Dumitrescu: Both of the recommended bets in the game against France were winners and I hope for the same again.

I’ll go for Stanciu to make an assist at 4.50. I strongly believe that he can be a key player in attacking situations for Romania.

Albania v Switzerland - Group A: UEFA Euro 2016 : News Photo

Lyttleton: Ricardo Rodriguez to score at any time at 9.50.

The Wolfsburg left-back has never scored for his country but is a dead-ball specialist. He takes penalties for his club and free-kicks for Switzerland. After Gareth Bale and Eric Dier scored at the weekend from free-kicks, Rodriguez might fancy his chances. 



Dumitrescu: Romania 1-1 Switzerland at 6.40

Lyttleton: Romania 1-1 Switzerland at 6.40