Arsenal midfielder and former captain has urged his national side Switzerland that anything less than a top two finish will be considered as a failure for the side.
The Switzerland captain, who is about to compete in his fourth major tournament, reckons that Switzerland has the squad to go all the way.
“We don’t need to beat around the bush: Our goal is a place in the top two. Anything else would be a big disappointment for me,” Xhaka told a weekend news conference as the Swiss prepared for Euro 2020.
This statement was made just a few days after the Switzerland coach suggested otherwise. Vladimir Petkovic warned everyone to refrain from having unrealistic expectations from the side.
Switzerland are placed in a tough group which includes Italy, Turkey and Wales. While Italy are the strongest team on paper in this group and are favourites to top the group, one must not underestimate Turkey who have been really impressive during the recent international breaks. Moreover, Wales also have a decent team which will be led by Gareth Bale. Wales were the only team among this quartet to reach the semi-finals of the 2016 edition.
Switzerland have a good squad themselves, but all their star players i.e Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Yann Sommer and Manuel Akanji haven’t had the best of seasons. Taking all this into consideration, it will be regarded a good tournament for Switzerland if they finish in the top 2 of their group, not the entire tournament as their skipper believes.
“We are all more mature and, in every respect, much further down the road as a team. The core of the squad has been working together for years. The climate is right, the interpersonal atmosphere is right.
“At the 2014 World Cup and in France in 2016, we missed out by a hair’s breadth. In Russia, we were stopped by the Swedes because we were mostly mentally broken.”
Switzerland kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against Wales in Baku on June 12 and also play Italy and Turkey in Group A.