The start was key to Switzerland’s win against Albania in yesterday’s UEFA Euro 2016 match, according to Switzerland’s coach Vladimir Petković. Speaking to John Atkin at Stade Bollaert-Delelis, after the teams 1-0 win against Albania, he said “We handled the emotion of the occasion better. We used the nervous energy very positively. I think we played a lot better in the first twenty minutes than we did thereafter. At first we were dictating the tempo, after that we allowed them to come on to us a bit, we slowed down too much. That happened even when Albania went down to ten men, though we did miss a lot of opportunities.”
Xhaka against Xhaka
Granit Xhaka, Switzerland’s star midfielder, who recently joined the English team Arsenal, played against his brother, Taulant Xhaka in Saturday’s match in Lens, France. Both brothers were born in Switzerland to Kosovar-Albanian parents and grew up in Basel. Granit ended up in the Swiss team while his brother Taulant started playing for Albania in 2014 after becoming an Albanian citizen in 2013. Taulant plays as a defender.
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Speaking to John Atkin, Granit said “It was special for my family here, with two brothers playing on different sides. It was great for us too – if perhaps a bit more special for me than him”, referring to Switzerland’s win.