Granit Xhaka masterclass sent the World Champions France packing from Euro 2020

Granit Xhaka of Switzerland
Granit Xhaka of Switzerland / IMAGO

The Arsenal midfielder ran the show in the midfield for Swiss, who beat France on penalties.

Switzerland played one of their best matches of Euro 2020 against France last night, and the most shocking thing was the Swiss were able to dump the defending World Cup champions out of the tournament through penalties.

Perhaps, it wasn’t plain sailing for the Swiss as they were 3-1 at one stage in the second half, and the majority could have written them off.

However, the determined Vladimir Petkovic’s side-mounted a stunning come-back by scoring two quick goals in the final ten minutes, dragging them to extra-time. The morale was high among the Swiss team as they won the penalty shoot – with Yann Sommer making a decisive save against Kylian Mbappe – to progress to the last eight.

Haris Seferovic and Mario Gavranovic scored the all important goals, but it was Granit Xhaka, who anchored his team in the middle, and marshalled his troop. The 28-year-old completely dominated the midfield, against the likes of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.

Despite an underwhelming club campaign with the Gunners, the game against Les Bleues witnessed Xhaka’s true self and how he can pull strings from the midfield on his own.

He excelled in all the metrics, and he was the player with more key passes, progressive passes and all that. Furthermore, he set up Gavranovics’s ultimate equaliser in the stoppage time with a brilliant defence-splitting 30 yard pass.

On top of everything, Xhaka turned out as an inspirational presence as he never allowed his side’s morale to go down, and he was seen crying and shouting at his teammates in the hurdles.

Xhaka became a polarising figure among Arsenal fans, and he was also stripped of the captaincy for venting his anger. There were near breakdown of his relationship with the Arsenal club and fans. But the situation improved after Mikel Arteta took charge. Now, he is the hero for Swiss fans following his heroics against the World Champions.

Following the memorable win, Granit Xhaka said: “The feeling is amazing.

“Everyone who is from Switzerland can be very proud today. We wrote history, we made history and to come back like this, showing the spirit and character, I am very proud to be part of this team.

“We can dream, we are still in the tournament, we play Spain, and we know them. We need the same fighting spirit like today.”