The Swiss footballers are punished for a listless performance: they lose the test match against number 96 of the world rankings Qatar 0:1. It is the low point in the Petkovic era.

Fabian Schär didn’t want to talk around the hot porridge for long after the game. “It was a bad performance from us, so we are not allowed to play in the national team,” said the defensive patron, who will be suspended against Belgium and had played with a broken nose against the Qatari. Schär, however, was one of the few Swiss players to have at least reached the usual level of performance. He was powerless when he scored in the 86th minute. The substitute Sow had had the ball taken from him, the pass into the depths Afif exploited without effort.

No desire for football

The goal against was the end of a dreary evening, which now stands as a big, thick Tolggen in the Swiss pure edition. Ottmar Hitzfeld once lost to Luxembourg at the beginning of his term in office, now Vladimir Petkovic also has his Luxembourg, but since yesterday evening it has been Qatar.

That this would happen had been suggested in the first half, which only once inspired the sparse audience to move: to whistle when the players disappeared into the cabin. The displeasure had its good reasons. The Swiss disappointed all along the line. They had no tempo. They had no ideas. And above all, they didn’t seem to feel like it either. No desire for an evening that would have given some players the opportunity to recommend themselves for higher tasks.

Petkovic had once again sent a team onto the pitch that had never played together before; firstly because of injury-related absences, and secondly because of a desire to experiment for the future. This is how Loris Benito made his debut, as did Leo Lacroix. Both solved their tasks properly, but without indicating that they could eventually belong to the tribe. Christian Fassnacht remained invisible in the first half, when he was supposed to make things move behind the storm in the centre, when he played on the right side in the second half, but lacked the guts to set an accent. Mario Gavranovic used his chance as an alternative for Haris Seferovic at the centre of the attack, just as Remo Freuler once again failed to prove that he belonged to the starting line-up. Above all, Petkovic had meant well by experimenting and trying out. The possibilities in the squad are obviously not as great as the Swiss coach believes.

When Xherdan Shaqiri joined the team in the second half, the Swiss game got a little better. But they didn’t want to score a goal. This was due to a lack of consistency, such as two attempts by Ajeti, who replaced Gavranovic, Qatar’s Goalie Hassan, and twice it was the goal frame that prevented the Swiss from scoring. But all in all it was not that the hosts wanted to show the 4200 spectators that they wanted to win this game against the tirelessly fighting Qatari. In the end you were just a little disappointed. Already on Sunday you can show that you can do better.

Petkovic: “No setback”.

“I am convinced that this defeat is not a setback,” Petkovic said. His team had not been mentally ready, but now everyone had understood that this was not the way to go. Petkovic was relaxed, he didn’t think that the game deserved to be looked at closely. He was still asked whether it was a disgrace or an industrial accident. “Something in between, perhaps a company embarrassment,” Petkovic said. An apt word creation. You have to remember it: Company embarrassment.