A few more days of WC football have past and not many games reached the WOW-level of club football. The defences of teams have the better from the offences of their opponents: quality moves in and around the box are hard to come by and goals are often scored from set pieces. But there still were some very good games to watch and they were typified by high intensity of play and good passing round of the ball.
The pick of the bunch was the highly charged battle between Switzerland and Serbia, with a great Swiss come back in the second half turning a losing position into a winning one through sheer desire and individual qualities. Our very own Xhaka played a crucial role in this. He made himself constantly available and passed the ball crisply to whomever was available to receive it. He makes it look simple but it’s far from it.
To be fair, he and the rest of the team did not start great and at half time they could be more behind than by just the one goal. But they kept their calm and came out with renewed determination in the second half. Xhaka masterfully led the team in midfield, playing a key role in moving the game into the Serbs’ half with good vision and precise passing.
Of course the game will always be remembered for Granit’s wonderful diagonal thunderbolt, which levelled the game and gave the Swiss the much needed momentum to clinch victory. A certain mini-Orc from Stoke did just that at the closing stages of the game from a quick counterattack, instigated by Granit of course. But GX also showed what he is capable of if he is supported by a solid fellow midfielder. Behrami, with a great engine, healthy aggression, excellent reading of the game and some very fine interceptions, was a very good partner for Xhaka v Serbia.
I can talk and talk about Xhaka’s calm and effective brilliance, but I suggest you just watch the video:
With Granit we have a very fine deeper-laying midfield and we just have to support him with a Behrami-like partner. Torreira will fit the bill rather nicely, I reckon.