France will be looking to continue their unbeaten competitive record against Switzerland as the teams meet at the National Arena Bucharest in the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16.
• The world champions finished first in Group F although they won only one of their three fixtures, drawing the last two, while Switzerland qualified from Group A as one of the best third-placed sides overall.
• The winners of this tie will play Croatia or Spain in the quarter-finals in Saint Petersburg on 2 July.
• Switzerland’s record in 38 games against France is W12 D10 L16, but they have yet to win a competitive encounter with Les Bleus (D4 L2).
• The teams’ last meeting came in the group stage of UEFA EURO 2016, a goalless Matchday 3 draw at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille that meant both sides progressed from Group A, France in first place with seven points and Switzerland in second with five.
• After 32 friendly fixtures between 1905 and 2003, their first competitive meeting was in their final group match at UEFA EURO 2004, when Jacques Santini’s France defeated Köbi Kuhn’s Switzerland 3-1. Zinédine Zidane and Thierry Henry (two) got the France goals, while Switzerland’s consolation came from Johan Vonlanthen, who became the EURO finals’ youngest ever scorer at 18 years 141 days.
• The countries shared two draws en route to qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where they were paired again and played out another stalemate in their opening group encounter in Stuttgart.
• It was a different story when they faced off in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Didier Deschamps’ France running out 5-2 victors against Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Switzerland with five different goalscorers. Olivier Giroud, Karim Benzema and Moussa Sissoko all found the net for France with Granit Xhaka scoring a late second for Switzerland.
• Hugo Lloris, Raphaël Varane and substitutes Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba also played for France in that game, with Ricardo Rodríguez, Xherdan Shaqiri, Haris Seferović and Admir Mehmedi all starting for the Swiss.
EURO facts: France
• France’s defeat by Portugal in the UEFA EURO 2016 final denied them to claim their third EURO title following their triumphs of 1984 and 2000.
• In 2016, Deschamps’ team had finished first in their group ahead of Switzerland, Albania and Romania before beating the Republic of Ireland 2-1 – their first EURO knockout win since 2000 – in the round of 16. Iceland (5-2) and Germany (2-0) were then defeated only for Portugal to run out 1-0 extra-time winners in Saint-Denis.
• Les Bleus responded to that disappointment by winning their second World Cup in 2018, defeating Croatia 4-2 in the final to add to their title from 20 years earlier.
• Having won consecutive world (1998) and European (2000) titles with France as a player, Deschamps can repeat the feat as a coach; France aside, only West Germany (1972 EURO, 1974 World Cup) and Spain (2008 and 2012 EURO, 2010 World Cup) have held both titles at the same time.
• France qualified for the 2020 finals by finishing first in Group H, winning eight of their ten qualifiers (D1 L1) to pick up 25 points, two more than Turkey.
• France opened the finals with a 1-0 win against Germany in Munich but were then held to two draws in Budapest, against hosts Hungary (1-1) and holders Portugal (2-2) in a repeat of that 2016 final.
• The 2-0 loss in Turkey on 8 June 2019 is France’s only defeat in 90 minutes in their last 20 EURO games (W15 D4).
• France are appearing at their 13th successive world or European final tournament; they have not missed out since the 1994 World Cup, and have reached five finals in that run, winning three of them.
• France have won all six of their round of 16 matches at major tournaments – five in the World Cup (against Italy in 1986, Paraguay in 1998, Spain in 2006, Nigeria in 2014 and Argentina in 2018) in addition to that UEFA EURO 2016 victory against Ireland.
• This is France’s tenth EURO, and their eighth in a row; they last failed to qualify for the 1988 event.
• This is France’s second visit to the National Arena Bucharest, where they drew 0-0 against Romania in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying in September 2011. That made their record in the country overall W1 D2 L2, all against Romania.
EURO facts: Switzerland
• This is Switzerland’s fifth EURO, all in the last seven editions of the competition. Eliminated in the group stage in 1996, 2004 and as co-hosts in 2008, they finished second in their section at UEFA EURO 2016 behind hosts France but bowed out in the last 16, losing 5-4 on penalties to Poland after a 1-1 draw.
• This is Switzerland’s fourth successive appearance in a major tournament having also qualified for the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups, reaching the last 16 at both. They have not reached the quarter-final of a major tournament since the 1954 World Cup, a tournament they hosted, losing all five of their round of 16 encounters since then.
• The Swiss booked their place at UEFA EURO 2020 by finishing first in Group D, taking 17 points from their eight qualifiers. They won four of their last five matches, scoring 13 goals and conceding only two in that five-game sequence with three clean sheets.
• Switzerland opened Group A with a 1-1 draw against Wales in Baku but then suffered a 3-0 loss to Italy in Rome in their second fixture. They responded with a 3-1 defeat of Turkey back in Baku, Xherdan Shaqiri scoring twice to secure third place in the section.
• The defeat by Italy on Matchday 2 was only Switzerland’s second reverse in their last 17 EURO fixtures, qualifying and final tournament combined (W9 D6), the other a 1-0 loss away to Denmark in October 2019. They were unbeaten at UEFA EURO 2016 (W1 D3), with their shoot-out elimination to Poland classed as a draw.
• Switzerland’s record in 16 EURO finals games is now W3 D6 L7.
• Switzerland finished fourth in the inaugural UEFA Nations League in 2019, losing 3-1 to hosts and eventual champions Portugal in the semi-finals and 6-5 on penalties to England in the third-place play-off after a goalless 120 minutes.
• Switzerland have lost three of their four games in Bucharest, most recently a 1-0 defeat against Romania at the Stadionul Steaua in qualifying for EURO ’92. Their sole victory in the city, and Romania, is a 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory in October 1981 at the Stadionul August 23, at the site of what is now the National Arena Bucharest.
Links and trivia
• Have played in France:
Loris Benito (Bordeaux 2019–)
Jordan Lotomba (Nice 2020–)
• Have played together:
Olivier Giroud & Granit Xhaka (Arsenal 2016–18)
Antoine Griezmann & Haris Seferović (Real Sociedad 2013/14)
Marcus Thuram & Yann Sommer, Nico Elvedi, Breel Embolo, Denis Zakaria (Borussia Mönchengladbach 2019–)
• Rodríguez opened the scoring from the penalty spot in Wolfsburg’s 2-0 win against Real Madrid in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg; Benzema started both that game and Madrid’s 3-0 second-leg win.
• Benzema scored one goal and set up another as Real Madrid beat a Basel side including Fabian Schär and Embolo 5-1 on Matchday 1 of the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League.
• Seferović scored Benfica’s goal in a 3-1 defeat away to a Lyon side captained by Léo Dubois in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Seferović and Antoine Griezmann got the goals in Real Sociedad’s 2-0 win at Lyon in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League play-off first leg.
• France’s record in six competitive penalty shoot-outs is W3 L3:
4-5 v West Germany, 1982 FIFA World Cup semi-final
4-3 v Brazil, 1986 FIFA World Cup quarter-final
5-4 v Netherlands, EURO ’96 quarter-final
5-6 v Czech Republic, EURO ’96 semi-final
4-3 v Italy, 1998 FIFA World Cup quarter-final
3-5 v Italy, 2006 FIFA World Cup final
• Switzerland have lost all three of their competitive penalty shoot-outs:
0-3 v Ukraine, 2006 FIFA World Cup round of 16
4-5 v Poland, UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16
5-6 v England, 2019 UEFA Nations League third-place play-off
• France’s 1-1 draw against Hungary brought an end to the team’s run of five successive victories – all with clean sheets – that included their opening 1-0 win at UEFA EURO 2020 against Germany in Munich. The subsequent 2-2 draw against Portugal means that Les Bleus have now won 17 of their last 23 matches, during which they have suffered just one defeat – 0-2 at home to Finland in a Stade de France friendly on 11 November 2020. That is one of only two of those 23 games in which they have failed to score.
• Les Bleus’ last competitive loss was in a UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier away to Turkey in June 2019, since when they have won 14 and drawn five of their 19 matches across three competitions. They are unbeaten in ten tournament games (W7 D3) since the final of UEFA EURO 2016.
• The world champions warmed up for UEFA EURO 2020 with two 3-0 home wins, defeating Wales in Nice on 2 June, with goals from Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembélé, and Bulgaria in Saint-Denis six days later, a late double from Olivier Giroud – his 45th and 46th international goals – adding to another Griezmann strike.
• Griezmann has appeared in all of France’s last 51 internationals, starting every one of the team’s 37 competitive matches during that sequence, which began in August 2017. Since making his debut for Les Bleus in March 2014 the Barcelona forward has never missed a competitive international, starting 52 and coming off the bench in the other three. His 94 caps have brought him 38 goals, 24 of them in competitive matches, the latest of which earned France a draw against Hungary on Matchday 2.
• France remain unbeaten in the 34 internationals in which Griezmann has scored, although the game against Hungary was only the fourth of those games that they have failed to win.
• That goal in the Puskás Arena was Griezmann’s seventh at the EURO finals, lifting the UEFA EURO 2016 top scorer into joint third place in the all-time list alongside Alan Shearer, with only Cristiano Ronaldo (14 at the end of the group stage) and Michel Platini (nine) ahead of him.
• Didier Deschamps’ experienced UEFA EURO 2020 squad includes two centurions in Giroud (109 caps) and captain Hugo Lloris (128). The 26 players collectively have 209 major tournament appearances and 30 goals between them.
• There are 14 of France’s 2018 FIFA World Cup winners in the UEFA EURO 2020 squad, five of whom were also present on home soil at UEFA EURO 2016 – Lloris, Griezmann, Giroud, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté. Three other players – Moussa Sissoko, Kingsley Coman and Lucas Digne – have returned for a second successive EURO having missed out on the World Cup triumph in Russia.
• Karim Benzema returned to the France fold for the pre-tournament friendlies against Wales and Bulgaria, his first appearances for Les Bleus since October 2015, and started all three group encounters. The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker, who is appearing at a tournament for the first time since the 2014 World Cup, is also a veteran of the 2008 and 2012 EUROs. He finally scored his first two EURO final tournament goals on Matchday 3 against Portugal, having drawn a blank on his eight previous appearances.
• The 2020/21 season was a productive one for most of the players in the France squad as 15 of them collected major silverware with their clubs. Giroud, Kanté and Kurt Zouma were UEFA Champions League winners with Chelsea; Coman, Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernández and Corentin Tolisso were German champions with Bayern München; Thomas Lemar won the Spanish Liga with Atlético de Madrid; Mike Maignan was ever-present in goal for Ligue 1 winners LOSC Lille; Griezmann, Dembélé and Clément Lenglet won the Copa del Rey with Barcelona; Adrien Rabiot was a Coppa Italia winner with Juventus; and Mbappé and Presnel Kimpembe lifted the Coupe de France with Paris Saint-Germain.
• Mbappé was Ligue 1’s top scorer for the third season running, with 27 goals for Paris, and also found the net eight times in the UEFA Champions League. As at the 2018 World Cup, he remains, aged 22, the youngest player in France’s squad.
• Mbappé was one of 20 players in the France squad who played UEFA Champions League football in 2020/21, with three others involved in the UEFA Europa League. The only players who missed out on European football were Everton’s Digne, Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder and Lyon’s Léo Dubois.
• France are through to the UEFA Nations League Finals in Italy later this year; they have been drawn to face Belgium in the second semi-final in Turin on 7 October.
• Dembélé has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament with a knee injury sustained in the draw against Hungary.
• The victory against Turkey in Switzerland’s final group game was the team’s sixth win in eight matches, the opening draw against Wales having ended a five-match winning run which had been extended by victories in UEFA EURO 2020 warm-up games in St Gallen against the United States (2-1) and Liechtenstein (7-0). The Matchday 2 defeat by Italy in Rome is the only one suffered by Vladimir Petković’s side in their last nine games.
• Mario Gavranović scored three of Switzerland’s goals against Liechtenstein – the only UEFA EURO 2020 participant to register a hat-trick in any of the pre-tournament friendlies. It was his first international treble.
• Two Switzerland squad members were domestic champions in 2020/21 – Gavranović with Dinamo Zagreb and Christian Fassnacht with Young Boys – while Manuel Akanji was the only domestic cup winner, helping Borussia Dortmund claim the DFB-Pokal.
• Breel Embolo’s goal against Wales was his first in a final tournament at the ninth attempt and just his sixth in 46 international appearances.
• Haris Seferović’s opening goal against Turkey was his 22nd for Switzerland but just his second in 16 final tournament outings, the previous one having come on his tournament debut – the added-time winner in a 2-1 victory over Ecuador at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
• Xherdan Shaqiri’s double against Turkey took his all-time tally of international goals to 25 in 94 appearances. Seven of those have been scored at major tournaments, including four at the World Cup and a stunning strike in the round of 16 against Poland at UEFA EURO 2016.
• Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka has not missed an international for over three years, since a friendly against Spain on 3 June 2018. In that time he has run up 36 successive appearances, the first 30 all in the starting XI. The last competitive international he failed to start was a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Hungary on 7 October 2016, for which he was suspended; he has been selected for all 38 since.
• Xhaka is set to appear in his 28th EURO encounter – finals and qualifying combined – which is one shy of Stéphane Chapuisat’s Switzerland record.
• Xhaka is one of ten members of the Switzerland squad who were also involved at UEFA EURO 2016, along with Nico Elvedi, Embolo, Admir Mehmedi, Ricardo Rodríguez, Fabian Schär, Seferović, Shaqiri, Yann Sommer and Denis Zakaria, although Elvedi and Zakaria did not actually play in France.