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Swiss surge continues with defeat of Iceland

Pierluigi Tami's Switzerland have consolidated pole position in Group A after seeing off Iceland courtesy of unanswered strikes from Fabian Frei and Innocent Emeghara.

Swiss surge continues with defeat of Iceland
Swiss surge continues with defeat of Iceland ©UEFA.com

Switzerland made it two wins out of two and cemented their place at the top of Group A after a 2-0 success against Iceland at the Aalborg Stadium.

For all the cultural connections between the Icelanders and the Danes, it was the Swiss who looked perfectly at home here in Jutland from the moment Fabian Frei gave them an instant lead which Innocent Emeghara doubled after 40 minutes.

In fact the opener arrived as early as 58 seconds when Frei pulled right and with only goalkeeper Haraldur Björnsson for company, wasted no time in ruffling the back of the net. While Frei's right boot delivered the strike, its original source was the through pass from Xherdan Shaqiri which caught Iceland cold on a windy afternoon in Aalborg.

Björnsson dealt better with a near identical situation when he palmed away a Shaqiri shot. The Switzerland No10's reputation, rocketing on the back of his match-winning performance against Denmark, was fast approaching another orbit at this UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Emeghara was also offering compelling evidence that the victory for Pierluigi Tami's team over the hosts had been no fluke.

At the other end, Iceland's top-billing player Gylfi Sigurdsson fired a reminder, from 25 metres, that here was a side that had scored 33 goals in ten qualifiers. Yet the more Emeghara, Shaqiri, Frei and, from deep, the powerful Granit Xhaka, pushed on in support of Mario Gavranović, the weaker Iceland's case for survival in the group seemed to be.

Thankfully for Eyjólfur Sverrisson's men, Björnsson got a strong hand to Gavranović's poked effort. Yet soon after, the goalkeeper could only send Emeghara's shot looping into the net off his foot as the lively attacker accepted Frei's inviting forward pass in a move instigated by Shaqiri.

If the half-time musical offering of Europe's Final Countdown was going to herald something other than a still point-less Iceland's imminent elimination, they needed much more than the fleeting threat of half-chances for Bjarni Vidarsson and Rúrik Gíslason. Forward Kolbeinn Sigthórsson nearly provided it when Sigurdsson's right-wing cross was deflected onto him by Jonathan Rossini, but his goal-bound attempt was kicked off the line by the back-tracking Frei. Gíslason later had a close-range finish ruled out for offside.

The complexion of the game had changed considerably, and it was from a rare Swiss raid that Emeghara warmed the hands of Björnsson. In contrast, Björn Bergmann Sigurdarson had a decent late sight of goal as the blue shirts continued to press forward, so if Iceland were blowing in the wind at the final whistle, it was likely a fatigue born out of disappointment rather than tired legs.