Spain 1-0 Switzerland: Oyarzabal strike seals Spanish success

A first-half strike from Mikel Oyarzabal kept Spain on top of UEFA Nations League Group A4.

 Mikel Oyarzabal celebrates after scoring the only goal
Mikel Oyarzabal celebrates after scoring the only goal Getty Images

Mikel Oyarzabal scored the only goal as Spain stayed top of the group with a victory over Switzerland more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.

Spain vs Switzerland: as it happened, reaction

Match in brief

The only goal came after 14 minutes when Granit Xhaka slipped as Switzerland tried to play the ball out from the back, presenting it to Mikel Merino. He teed up Real Sociedad team-mate Oyarzabal to fire in.

Mikel Oyarzabal fires in
Mikel Oyarzabal fires inAFP via Getty Images

Chances on goal were at a premium in Madrid, although Spain were indebted to David De Gea for a brilliant stop to deny Loris Benito before Oyarzabal's strike.

Yann Sommer kept out Ferrán Torres in the first half, and Oyarzabal hit the post when presented with an open goal, but Spain held on fairly comfortably to record their second win of the group.

Highlights: Spain 1-0 Switzerland
Highlights: Spain 1-0 Switzerland

Graham Hunter, Spain reporter

Spain’s winning run goes on. Spain look set to qualify for the final stages of the UEFA Nations League for the first time but you can bet your bottom dollar that Luis Enrique isn’t satisfied with a number of elements here – although he won’t do anything but purr with delight over the Roja’s effort, intensity and spirit. The passing became ragged, the creativity was more at fault than any notion of faulty finishing and, frankly, Spain made Switzerland look very capable of getting a surprise draw. A firm building block but not the finished article, this.

Spain react at full time
Spain react at full timeAFP via Getty Images

James Thorogood, Switzerland reporter

Sat bottom of the Group A4 as the only side without a win, Switzerland keep producing unforced errors in a condensed tournament format that provides margin for none. Another disciplined defensive performance against a high-calibre opponent is undone by a mistake, while the lack of an attacking threat remains an issue. The return of Xhedran Shaqiri was welcome after a 490-day international absence, but a return to the peak of his powers will be even more so.

Reaction

Mikel Oyarzabal, Spain forward: "The video analysis showed us that Switzerland took risks playing out from the back and that it would be vital to press very high and very speedily. In the end it fell to me to finish the chance which gave us the win but that pressure has to be a team product. We certainly had chances to score more goals. But this is a team where the coach infuses us with confidence, we are all on the same page and this team is going in the right direction."

Adama Traoré runs at the Swiss defence
Adama Traoré runs at the Swiss defenceGetty Images

Ferrán Torres, Spain winger: "The three guys who started tonight can interchange across any of the three positions up front which makes us harder to predict and harder to mark for the opponent. Switzerland take risks at the back and that's how we've got our winner here."

Yann Sommer, Switzerland goalkeeper: "In the first half especially, we played ourselves into difficult situations. Yes they pressed well and with aggression, but we struggled to find the solutions and make the right decisions. I don’t know whether it was my pass or Xhaka's slip, but in the end it doesn't matter. It was part of a pattern of us looking unsure of ourselves at the back in the first half. It just made our job all the harder."

Key stats

Back in Swiss colours: Xherdan Shaqiri
Back in Swiss colours: Xherdan ShaqiriAFP via Getty Images
  • All three of Oyarzabal's international goals have been scored in Madrid – but at three different stadia.
  • Shaqiri won his first cap for 490 days, and on 83 joins Valon Behrami in joint-tenth on the all-time list of Switzerland international appearances.
  • Spain are unbeaten in 15 games (W11 D4).
  • Spain have won their last eight home matches, only conceding one goal in the process.
  • Switzerland lost for the first time in four UEFA Nations League matches.
  • Spain have kept a clean sheet in 15 of their last 18 competitive home fixtures
  • Spain have only conceded six goals in their last 15 matches.
  • Switzerland have conceded one goal or less in 23 of their last 30 games.
  • Switzerland have only kept one clean sheet in their last ten away games.

Line-ups

Spain: De Gea; Jesús Navas, Pau Torres, Ramos, Gayà; Sergio Busquets, Merino; Olmo (Canales 57), Oyarzabal (Gerard Moreno, 73), Ferrán Torres (Rodri 88); Fati (Traoré 57)

Switzerland: Sommer; Widmer (Fernandes 86), Elvedi, Rodríguez, Schär, Benito (Zuber 81); Freuler (Gavranović 86), Xhaka, Sow (Vargas 60), Mehmedi (Shaqiri 60); Seferović

What's next?

Spain travel to face Ukraine on Tuesday 13 October, while Switzerland are away to Germany in Cologne.