Yakin: ‘Switzerland need top performance with Italy’

Switzerland manager Murat Yakin warns Italy are ‘the champions of Europe and unbeaten in 35 games, so we will need a top performance’ in tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier.

It kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT) at St Jakob Park in Basel.

The Azzurri have 10 points from four matches in this group following their 1-1 draw with Bulgaria on Thursday, while Switzerland have a perfect record after two games.

“We made some tactical experiments, trying out two different systems, but Italy are champions of Europe, they are unbeaten in 35 games and we will need a top performance,” Yakin told RSI.

Switzerland were beaten 3-0 by Italy in UEFA EURO 2020, but Yakin took over from Vladimir Petkovic after that tournament.

“Our aim is to make the midfield and defence more solid, so hopefully Yann Sommer won’t have quite so many saves to make. I like special games and tomorrow will be one of those, as we are hosting the champions of Europe.

“The players who were there in the Euros have already forgotten it, as this will be a totally different match.”

Italy’s first match since the Euros was a disappointing 1-1 draw with Bulgaria on Thursday evening in Florence.

“Anyone who saw that game will know that Bulgaria were very fortunate. We have to be realistic here, Italy are a very strong team. We have only two options, we can win tomorrow and aim to top the group or qualify in second place and go into the play-offs in March, but we’re not there yet.”