Switzerland have brushed aside Bulgaria 4-0 to secure a place at next year’s controversial World Cup in Qatar.
Playing in Lucerne on Monday night, Switzerland qualified for a fifth successive World Cup in some style, having also hit the post twice and had two goals ruled out for offside as they cut through the Bulgarian defence with ease.
It was a special night for Swiss captain Xherdan Shaqiri, who marked his 100th appearance with an excellent performance, setting up the Swiss opener.
“Everyone in the stadium is happy. Everyone is proud. Days as beautiful as this are rare,” Shaqiri said.
“We also have to thank [manager] Murat Yakin. It wasn’t easy for him to follow in Vlado’s [Vladimir Petkovic’s] footsteps. He did a great job. The team is in excellent shape. It’s fun to play with this team.”
Switzerland are certainly enjoying a strong run, having almost made it to the semifinals of the delayed Euro 2020 in July, losing on penalties to Spain.
The Swiss papers on Tuesday also acknowledged the role of Petkovic, who stepped down after that match after seven years in charge.
“Murat Yakin […] can now add further chapters to Petkovic’s fairy tale,” wrote the Tages-Anzeiger. “A memorable football year ends with goose bumps.”
Allegations of corruption
Switzerland’s multicultural squad now turns its attention to Qatar, which will host 32 teams from around the world from November 21-December 18 next year.
The choice of Qatar by FIFA, world football’s Zurich-based governing body, has been mired in controversy since the decision was announced in 2010.
Even former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, recently indicted for fraud and other offences, admitted in 2014 that opting for Qatar was a mistake because of the heat. However, he denied rumours that the rich Gulf state had bought the tournament.
In 2020 the US Department of Justice set formal allegations in an indictment that bribes were paid to secure votes for the hosting rights to the tournament. According to the prosecutors, representatives working for Russia (which hosted the 2018 World Cup) and Qatar bribed FIFA executive committee officials to swing votes in the crucial hosting decisions. The organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have denied these allegations.
There is also the issue of human rights. Earlier this year the Guardian newspaper revealed how more than 6,500 migrant workers had died in Qatar since the World Cup was awarded. It said it was likely that many workers who died were employed on World Cup infrastructure projects, such as new stadiums, a new airport, roads and hotels.
Source: Swiss Info