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Switzerland outclass Hungary with 3-1 win in Euro 2024 opener

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Happy Swiss fans in Cologne on Saturday Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Switzerland got their Euro 2024 campaign off to a flying start with a commanding 3-1 win over a shaky Hungary on Saturday, with first international goals for Kwadwo Duah and Michel Aebischer and Breel Embolo netting on his return from injury.

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Playing in only his second national team game, Duah put the Swiss ahead with a cool finish after 12 minutes after being put through by Aebischer, who doubled the lead close to halftime with a superb curling shot from outside the area.

Hungary pulled one back in the 66th minute when Barnabas Varga crouched low to head Dominik Szoboszlai’s curling cross into the bottom corner, sparking a frantic effort to get back in the game, but the Swiss held firm and made it three when substitute Embolo capitalised on an error in injury time.

Chasing a place in the knockout rounds in their sixth consecutive major tournament, Switzerland looked a classy outfit, composed and organised at the back and quick on the attack, with Granit Xhaka controlling the play and Dan Ndoye a constant trouble for the Hungarian defence.

Aebischer and Duah were brought back into the Switzerland side by manager Murat Yakin and their selection proved inspired, with Aebischer a central figure in multiple first-half attacks that exposed the frailty of the Hungarian defence.

‘Still dreaming’

“It was brutally important for us to start with a win,” Xhaka said. “The first half was very strong, the second wasn’t any worse, but we had to do more. Overall, we deserved the win. It was exactly what we’ve been training for: very intense, as you could see from the players. We have a good bench and today we saw how important it is. We need everyone and we took a good step today. Kwadwo Duah got the chance and took it. He’s a great lad – very pleasant, very easy-going and ice-cold in front of goal. We’re glad he’s with us.”

For his part, London-born Duah, who plays his football in Bulgaria, said he was “still dreaming”. “Second international, first goal. I’m exploding inside! It was a beautiful pass from Mich (Aebischer). I still can’t believe it, I need a few more days to realise it. At first I thought it might have been offside, then I was overjoyed. I dedicate my goal to everyone who believed in me, including the manager. It’s not a given that a player who plays in Bulgaria will be called up. A lot of people were a bit sceptical, but I was able to show that I really can score goals.”

Switzerland now face Scotland on Wednesday and then hosts Germany on Sunday.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR