France not seeing Switzerland clash as a ‘banana skin’

Pre-tournament favourites France will hope to spark as they enter the knockout stages with their last-16 clash against Switzerland on Monday.

The world champions did not have things all their own way in the group stage, winning just one of their three games, but are well aware the real competition begins now.

Didier Deschamps’ men face the Swiss in Bucharest with the winners going through to a quarter-final against whoever triumphs in the day’s other clash between Croatia and Spain in Copenhagen.

The Henri Delaunay trophy will change hands this year after Portugal’s reign as European champions was ended by a wonder strike from Belgium’s Thorgan Hazard on Sunday.

Hazard netted with a swerving long-range effort three minutes before the break as Belgium won a hard-fought clash in Seville 1-0.

The Czech Republic produced the shock of the day as they struck twice in the second half to dump out 10-man Holland 2-0 in Budapest.

Holland completely crumbled after Matthijs De Ligt was sent on 55 minutes and the Czechs went on to win with goals from Tomas Hole and Patrik Schick.

Deschamps gives Swiss credit

France may be strong favourites but manager Didier Deschamps claims it would be disrespectful to suggest a Swiss victory on Monday would be an upset. Deschamps believes Vladimir Petkovic’s side are not getting the credit they deserve.

“It’s not a potential banana skin,” he said. “It’s a Round of 16 match with a quarter-final place at stake. They have strengths and are capable of good things. They’re not 13th in the FIFA rankings for nothing.”

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