Blerim Dzemaili scored in a substitute appearance for Switzerland, but thanks to a woeful performance from the rest of the squad, their World Cup hopes took a serious beating in a 5-2 defeat to France.
It didn't take long for things to fall apart for the Swiss, as central defender Steve Von Bergen went down with an injury just a few minutes in to the match, and Phillipe Senderos was poor as a replacement. After that, a fast and interchanging French front line overwhelmed the central midfield pairing of Valon Behrami and Gokhan Inler, with Behrami in particular looking poor.
Behrami made a pair of early mistakes that directly or indirectly lead to two goals for France, including a simply stupid giveaway in midfield that lead to France's second just seconds after the restart from their opener. This was probably the worst match we've seen from Behrami in a long, long time, and that's after probably the worst club season of his career.
Thanks to the ineptitude of his partner, Inler wasn't much better. He tried to support the attack, but was tied so far back in midfield that he couldn't bomb forward without exposing a shaky back line. Elsewhere, Granit Xhaka wasn't doing much good from the tip of midfield, Admir Mehmedi was on a useless walkabout, and Haris Seferovic was completely marked out thanks to a stellar performance from Mahmadou Sakho. Switzerland's fullbacks, so dominant against Ecuador, were pinned back by the relentless France attack, so the onus of attack was on an unfit Xherdan Shaqiri, who was mobbed by Frenchman at every turn.
Suffice it to say, it was not a good day to be a Swiss fan.
A halftime sub that swapped a hopeless Behrami for Blerim Dzemaili put some life back in to the Swiss side, but with a 3-0 halftime scoreline it was too little, too late. The French would score two more without too much trouble, including a goal from Moussa Sissoko that saw him just run straight past a hapless Inler. Dzemaili got a consolation goal from a free kick at the edge of the box that saw him shoot low through the wall and in to the one corner Hugo Lloris had left uncovered, and he and Inler combined to create the second goal for Xhaka minutes later, but the match was well over by then.
It wasn't a particularly good showing for Switzerland or Napoli's representatives in their squad, but they do still have some hope of advancing to the knockout rounds if they can beat Honduras next week. They'll have to play much better, though, and find a way to pick up their squad morale after looking thoroughly dejected in the latter stages of the match. Maybe not playing Behrami could help, eh?