Soccer-French defensive woes do not affect our game plan-Swiss coach

·2-min read

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - France's mounting injuries could mean a switch from a back four to a three-man defence for the world champions, but for Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic it matters little ahead of their Euro 2020 last-16 clash on Monday.

France have no fit left backs following injuries to Lucas Hernandez and Lucas Digne in their 2-2 draw with Portugal on Wednesday and could now change their entire defensive formation with Adrien Rabiot, a midfielder, moving into the backline.

"I don't think this affects us," Petkovic told a news conference. "These are problems for Didier Deschamps but he has so many good players to chose from."

"We have to test ourselves, prepare to find our own game and deliver."

Switzerland have crashed out in the last 16 in their last three major tournaments, including losing 5-4 on penalties to Poland at Euro 2016.

Petkovic, who has been in charge since 2014, has been in the dugout for two of those defeats, at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

"With all due respect to our opponents, we will try to advance tomorrow because at this stage you cannot go back. The only way is forward," he said.

"For sure the game against Poland at Euro 2016 we deserved to progress, and on penalties you need to be lucky. We learnt from that game, and also from the defeat against Sweden in the 2018 World Cup," he said.

"What is important is to keep the right attitude and believe in our strengths. With opponents like France if you give 100% and they give 100% then that's just not enough."

"We have to go beyond our limits, beyond 100% and hope France stay a few percentages under us," Petkovic said.

Switzerland narrowly qualified for the knockout stage after finishing third in their group, with one win, a draw and a loss.

"We didn't start well this tournament, but then we qualified," said Swiss captain Granit Xhaka. "We will need to do our best for 120 minutes, and then we'll see if it's enough."

"What we want is to advance after three times eliminated in the Round of 16. This team is ready to make history."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)

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