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How will Switzerland stop Kylian Mbappé?

"We're not scared," says Silvan Widmer, but how will the Nati will deal with France's star man Kylian Mbappé? Switzerland team reporter Vieri Capretta provides analysis.

Switzerland's Silvan Widmer could be up against France's Kylian Mbappé
Switzerland's Silvan Widmer could be up against France's Kylian Mbappé UEFA via Getty Images

Advancing from Group A as one of the best third-placed teams, Switzerland found out on Wednesday night that neighbours France await them in the round of 16. The world champions boast a constellation of stars, and Kylian Mbappé is undoubtedly among their brightest. With Monday's clash looming, Swiss plans to contain the No10 and his team-mates will certainly already be set in motion.

Kylian Mbappé is yet to open his EURO 2020 account
Kylian Mbappé is yet to open his EURO 2020 accountUEFA via Getty Images

"He's a train," says Silvan Widmer. Stationed on Switzerland's right flank, the Basel defender will most likely be tasked with controlling the Paris Saint-Germain striker, who is acclaimed for his defence-piercing bursts of pace.

France vs Switzerland: live build-up

If set up in their usual 3-4-1-2 system, Vladimir Petković's side will have two players covering Mbappé: the right centre-back and the right wing-back – as well as one of their midfielders dropping deep to lend a hand. The Nati will try to limit Mbappé's runs in behind by pressing France, not allowing them to distribute the ball easily and thereby limiting his service.

Widmer has hinted that Switzerland are preparing to challenge France by playing with a high tempo and will harry them from the outset, in order to minimise the quality they have on the ball. The plan is to work as a unit, restrict Mbappé and, if he does get possession, keep up.

Switzerland qualified as one of the best third-placed teams
Switzerland qualified as one of the best third-placed teamsGetty Images

An option at right wing-back for the Nati, Widmer points out that despite being fairly quick himself, the French front man is simply on another level, "Obviously, if you face a player like Mbappé, you need the help of the whole team. We'll need to double up on him." The speedy Kevin Mbabu could also get the nod, having impressed in the opening game against Wales.

Inconveniently for Petković, Nico Elvedi was unable to train for much of this week with a foot injury, having started all three group games at right centre-back. However, he is now expected to be at full fitness for the France game, though Manuel Akanji and Fabian Schär could cover in the event that things do not work out. To narrow Mbappé's sphere of influence, Remo Freuler and Granit Xhaka will also need to alternate in dropping into the centre-right to offer support and form a three-man block.

Mbappé was just 17 and yet to be called up by Didier Deschamps the last time the sides last locked horns – a goalless draw at EURO 2016. Now a FIFA World Cup winner and leading the French line, the 22-year-old can unnerve even the most resolute of defences. "I'm convinced we'll be able to stop him," counters Widmer. "We're not scared."

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