Euro 2024: Switzerland 3-1 Hungary – Ten key takeaways as Kwadwo Duah and Breel Embolo neutralise Peter Gulacsi

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Switzerland started their Euro 2024 campaign with an impressive 3-1 victory over Hungary in Cologne on Saturday.

Here are the ten key takeaways from this enthralling encounter:

1. Dream Start for Kwadwo Duah
Switzerland’s decision to start Kwadwo Duah up front paid off immediately. Duah, making his first international start, scored just 13 minutes in. His composure in breaking the offside trap and finishing past Peter Gulacsi set the tone for Switzerland’s dominance.

2. Granit Xhaka’s Masterclass
Granit Xhaka was pivotal to Switzerland’s success, orchestrating play from midfield. His vision and precise passing were instrumental, notably assisting Michel Aebischer’s goal. Xhaka’s performance showcased his evolution into a complete midfielder, far beyond the defensive enforcer label he once had.

3. Michel Aebischer’s Influence
Michel Aebischer not only scored a stunning goal but also assisted Duah’s opener. His ability to impact both ends of the pitch was crucial.
Although he allowed Barnabas Varga to escape for Hungary’s goal, his overall contribution was vital for Switzerland’s victory.

4. Hungary’s Resilience
Despite trailing 2-0 at halftime, Hungary showed resilience in the second half. Barnabas Varga’s goal in the 66th minute, a powerful header from a Dominik Szoboszlai cross, reignited their hopes. However, their inability to sustain pressure and defensive errors ultimately cost them.

5. Peter Gulacsi’s Heroics
Hungary’s goalkeeper, Peter Gulacsi, kept his team in contention with several crucial saves. He denied Ruben Vargas twice in one-on-one situations, highlighting his shot-stopping ability. Despite conceding three goals, Gulacsi’s performance was commendable.

6. Defensive Frailties of Hungary
Hungary’s defensive unit struggled throughout the match. Attila Szalai’s poor positioning allowed Duah to stay onside for the opener, and Willi Orban’s critical mistake gifted Breel Embolo Switzerland’s third goal. These errors were pivotal in Hungary’s downfall.

7. Substitute Impact
Breel Embolo, coming off the bench, had an immediate impact. His pace and clinical finish following Orban’s error sealed the win for Switzerland. Embolo’s goal reveals his sharpness and readiness despite returning to international action for the first time since the 2022 World Cup.

8. Switzerland’s Tactical Versatility
Switzerland displayed tactical flexibility, seamlessly transitioning between formations. The back three of Schar, Akanji, and Rodriguez provided stability, while the midfield trio, led by Xhaka, controlled the tempo. This versatility allowed Switzerland to adapt and dominate the game.

9. Challenges for Marco Rossi’s Hungary
Hungary’s coach Marco Rossi made tactical adjustments at halftime, switching formations and introducing Bendeguz Bolla. While this initially sparked improvement, the lack of sustained attacking threat and defensive lapses highlighted the challenges Hungary will face in progressing from the group stage.

10. Positive Signs for Swiss Campaign
Switzerland’s performance was a statement of intent. With key players like Xhaka, Aebischer, and Embolo in top form, they have set a high standard for their Euro 2024 campaign. The blend of experienced campaigners and fresh talents like Duah bodes well for their prospects in the tournament.