08.06.2024 21:40 h

Switzerland, Austria draw before heading to Euros

Switzerland and their Alpine neighbours Austria played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday in a final match before both sides head over the border to Euro 2024 in Germany.

Christoph Baumgartner put visitors Austria ahead in the fifth minute at the Kybunpark in St. Gallen before Silvan Widmer levelled for the hosts in the 26th minute.

Switzerland had most of the possession but Austria racked up more shots.

"We know we can do much better," Swiss winger Dan Ndoye said afterwards.

"That's what's a little frustrating today. But the team facing us was solid. We made good sequences at times; that's what we have to keep for next week, and then modify the little things that weren't there today," the Bologna player told RTS television.

"I can do much better, but I'd rather it happen today than next week.

"We have the quality; it's just that today it wasn't so good."

Switzerland's Denis Zakaria added: "I think it's a draw we have to take positively.

"We have to base ourselves on the good things from this match and give our best for the Euros," said the Monaco midfielder, who is currently struggling for fitness.

There was plenty of support for the visitors in the 18,731-strong crowd, with the stadium less than 25 kilometres from the Austrian border.

The two countries had not met since a 2015 friendly, when Switzerland won 2-1 in Vienna.

Switzerland are ranked 19th in the world and Austria 25th.

Switzerland coach Murat Yakin named his 26-man squad for the Euros on Friday, retaining 18 players that went to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Veteran midfielders Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri remain the star names in the Swiss squad.

Austria were quick off the mark, capitalising on a Swiss error to score.

After Switzerland lost the ball, RB Leipzig attacking midfielder Baumgartner ran through from deep inside his own half to side-foot the ball past Switzerland's goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

For the Swiss equaliser, Ruben Vargas cut his way into the penalty box and created an angle to shoot. Keeper Heinz Lindner got down to the effort but spilt it straight into the path of Widmer, handing the Mainz right-back a tap in.

In the 82nd minute, Sommer, fresh from winning the Italian title with Inter Milan, did well to get down to a shot from Michael Gregoritsch.

In the European Championships, Switzerland will play Hungary on June 15, Scotland on June 19 and then hosts Germany on June 23 in Group A.

Austria are in Group D, where they face France on June 17, Poland on June 21 and the Netherlands on June 25.

Switzerland reached the quarter-finals in the 2020 European Championship, their best-ever performance in the tournament.

Austria have played in the Euro finals three times but have never reached the last eight.