BAKU (Reuters) – Switzerland striker Haris Seferovic said a burden had been lifted off their shoulders after they posted their first win of the European Championship on Sunday to keep alive hopes of advancing to the last 16.
Seferovic scored early to set the Swiss on the way to a 3-1 win over Turkey that saw them take third place in Group A, behind Italy and Wales, and they must now wait to see if they stay on as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Victory in Baku came after days of heavy criticism following a disappointing 3-0 loss to Italy in their second group game last Wednesday after they drew their opener 1-1 with Wales.
“There is a good atmosphere in our group, a burden has been lifted from us,” Seferovic told a news conference on Monday.
“Everyone played badly against Italy. Each of us was to blame, we sat down and talked – that’s the only way to do it. It was a good conversation, one that pushed the team.”
The 29-year-old forward was among the players who pundits suggested should be dropped but he responded with a goal.
“In the end I was on the pitch and delivered,” he said, albeit adding it was of no more important than any other goal he had scored. “A goal is a goal. Regardless of whether it is at a European Championship, World Cup or qualifying.”
The Swiss, who flew back to their base in Rome on Monday, now wait to see who they will play, if they advance. They have four points from three matches so are in a strong position.
Seferovic said he hopes to play against top-ranked Belgium next because his Benfica team mate Jan Vertonghen is in their defence. The striker also scored a hat-trick against Belgium in a Nations League game in November 2018 when Switzerland won 5-2.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)