Swiss Boss Murat Yakin Targets England After Stunning Wins Over Italy and Germany

By Xorkpe Sosu 5 Min Read

ENGLAND have been warned by Swiss boss Murat Yakin: “We rattled the Germans and the Italians – and now we’re coming for you.”

The Three Lions face Switzerland in their Euros quarter-final on Saturday in Dusseldorf, having narrowly avoided an embarrassing last-16 defeat to Slovakia with a 95th-minute equalizer and an extra-time winner.

Switzerland’s Murat Yakin Reflects on Euro 2004 and Prepares for England Showdown

Swiss coach Murat Yakin recalls his challenging encounter with Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004 and how the Swiss team has evolved since then, ahead of their upcoming match.

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At Euro 2004, Switzerland’s Murat Yakin had the unenviable task of marking England’s explosive new teenage sensation, Wayne Rooney.

Switzerland's Murat Yakin Reflects on Euro 2004 and Prepares for England Showdown

It did not go well. Like an unruly force of nature, the 18-year-old Rooney scored twice in a 3-0 win in Portugal, making his mark on the competition.

Related: Paul Merson Mocks Harry Kane as England Struggles in Euro 2024

Yakin never stood a chance. But two decades later, Yakin is seeking revenge, using those painful memories as fuel for his fire.

Asked about that encounter 20 years ago, the 49-year-old coach said: “It was a crazy situation. We didn’t behave well in advance and during the tournament.

“There was unrest. If you lose 3-0, it’s not pleasant. I was a player, so I don’t have to explain it, that’s the coach’s job.

“There were players who made the difference like Michael Owen and Paul Gascoigne…” A local journalist is quick to correct him: not Gazza, but Wazza. Yakin smiles: “I am not a historian.” Perhaps he has chosen to wipe any trace of Rooney from his mind.

But as Yakin points out, a lot has changed with Swiss football since then. He said: “Today we practically have no background noise. You can’t compare it to that time.

“We have developed as a team and learned from our mistakes. It was worth experiencing. I can benefit from it as a player and coach.”

Right now, Yakin is reaping the rewards of a stunning turnaround with the Swiss national team. Weeks before the Euros started, many were calling for him to resign.

Manager Gareth Southgate has faced heavy criticism for his side’s poor form, having narrowly avoided an embarrassing last-16 defeat to Slovakia with a 95th-minute equalizer and an extra-time winner, while Yakin’s Swiss team are riding high after their superb 2-0 win over Italy to reach the quarters.

Switzerland's Murat Yakin Ready to Challenge England After Italian Triumph

Switzerland also came close to beating hosts Germany, nearly securing the top spot in the group stage if not for Niclas Fullkrug’s injury-time equalizer.

Yakin said, “We played well against Germany and were good against Italy, another big team, so why can’t we beat England? It’s a good challenge.

“My team is ready to fight against England. We know their strengths, and we also know their weaknesses. We saw that playing against certain teams in the groups is difficult, with a big block in the defense, and we also had problems with this.

“When you see the squad from England and the squad of my team, the value of England is much bigger than our team, but we have an opponent who wants to play and that’s good.

“We are in a good situation. We have played well and have good results. We have a good spirit in the team.”

However, Yakin understands that England are capable of clicking into gear at the right time after a poor tournament so far, especially with their star-studded squad.

Yakin continued, “They have big players. The expectation is great and they need this tournament.

“You see someone like Jude Bellingham and you see a guy who has won a Champions League, but we have to focus on all their players because they can make a difference.”

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