SoccerMatch Report

Switzerland too strong for Hungary as Embolo chip caps classy win

Kwadwo Duah and Michel Aebischer both score their first international goals as Murat Yakin’s selection vindicated

Breel Embolo scores Switzerland's third goal during the Euro 2024 Group A game against Hungary at Cologne Stadium. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Euro 2024 Group A: Hungary 1 Switzerland 3

Switzerland got their Euro 2024 campaign off to a flying start with a commanding 3-1 win over a shaky Hungary in Cologne on Saturday, with first international goals for Kwadwo Duah and Michel Aebischer and Breel Embolo netting on his return from injury.

Playing in only his second national team game, Duah put the Swiss ahead with a cool finish after 12 minutes after being put through by Aebischer, who doubled the lead close to half-time with a superb curling shot from outside the area.

Hungary pulled one back in the 66th minute when Barnabas Varga crouched low to head Dominik Szoboszlai’s curling cross into the bottom corner, sparking a frantic effort to get back in the game. But the Swiss held firm and made it three when substitute Embolo capitalised on an error in stoppage-time.

Chasing a place in the knock-out rounds in their sixth consecutive major tournament, Switzerland looked a classy outfit, composed and organised at the back and quick on the attack, with Granit Xhaka controlling the play and Dan Ndoye a constant trouble for the Hungarian defence.

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Aebischer and Duah were brought back into the Switzerland side by coach Murat Yakin and their selection proved inspired, with Aebischer a central figure in multiple first-half attacks that exposed the frailty of the Hungarian defence.

Hungary’s start to their third successive Euros was disappointing, with expectations high after a staggering run of 14 games unbeaten that ended only recently with defeat to the Republic of Ireland in a friendly international in Dublin.

They had the first chance of the game in the ninth minute when Attila Fiola squared the ball to Roland Sallai who blasted over the bar.

The Swiss went ahead three minutes later, when Aebischer slotted the ball through to Duah who fired into the bottom corner, with the goal confirmed after a VAR check.

They could have added another soon after when Ruben Vargas picked up on a poor back pass and fired off a shot that was blocked by Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

Hungary failed repeatedly to clear the ball and Aebischer made it two on the stroke of half-time when he fired past the goalkeeper.

Hungary, who reached the round of 16 in 2016 and exited at the group stage of Euro 2020, were a better side in the second half and had a brief rally after scoring but the Swiss kept their cool, with Xhaka and Ndoye creating good chances late on before Embolo calmly lifted the ball over the goalkeeper to make it three.