Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic has tried to downplay the importance of captain Granit Xhaka’s absence in the Euro 2020 quarter-final against Spain on Friday, saying his team does not depend on individuals.
Captain Xhaka will be forced to watch from the stands the first match of the quarterfinals of Switzerland in a big tournament on Friday in St. Petersburg, due to the suspension after the yellow card in the victory against France in the 1/8 of the final.
The absence of the Arsenal midfielder from Kosovo, who has been key in inspiring the Swiss team to stay in Euro 2020, is seen as a major flaw in the Swiss goal to reach the semifinals of this tournament.
It is believed that Petkovic will place Denis Zakaria in his place, the midfielder who has only had one appearance so far in the Euro, in the draw with Wales in the opening match.
Asked if Zakaria will replace Xhaka, Petkovic was reluctant to talk about the line-up but said he would decide after the last training session the night before the match.
Xhaka is a very important player, but we have other good players. We will not change much. I have an idea that needs to be confirmed in training and I will tell the team the next day. ”
Regarding Xhaka’s absence, he added: “We are a well-functioning team as a group. One is missing. We are optimistic.”
Xhaka played in all four of Switzerland’s matches this season and his inspiring performance against France could be the last in this Euro for him if Switzerland does not reach the semi-final against their favorite Spain.