Switzerland

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Former France midfielder Florent Malouda fired on Twitter

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ZURICH (AP) Former France midfielder Florent Malouda has learned via Twitter that he was fired by Swiss soccer club FC Zurich.

Malouda wrote “really I didn’t know that..??” after Zurich’s announcement was posted.

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The 38-year-old Frenchman, who helped Chelsea win the Champions League title in 2012 and played in the 2006 World Cup final loss to Italy, had coached Zurich’s forwards since February.

It’s not Malouda’s first setback in Switzerland. Last year, he lost a Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal against French Guiana forfeiting a 2017 Gold Cup game because he played while ineligible.

The French Guiana soccer federation had hoped Malouda, who was born in the South American territory, could switch allegiance from France because it is not a FIFA member.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

EURO qualifying: A pair of 3-3 draws, feat. 3 stoppage-time goals

Lise Aserud / NTB scanpix via AP
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A roundup of all of Tuesday’s action in 2020 European Championship qualification…

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Italy 6-0 Liechtenstein

Italy thrashed Liechtenstein on the back of two penalty kicks converted by Fabio Quagliarella (35th and 45th minutes), along with individual tallies from Stefano Sensi (17th), Marco Veratti (32nd), Moise Kean (70′) and Leonardo Pavoletti (76th).

With two victories from two games, and a +8 goal difference now in tow, Italy sit perched high atop Group J. With two sides set to qualify from the six-team group, it’s just about impossible to conjure up a scenario in which the Azzurri don’t qualify with more than a couple qualifiers still remaining.

Malta 0-2 Spain

Alvaro Morata bagged a brace (31st and 73rd minutes) to help Spain to a comfortable, if slightly labored, victory over Malta. Spain enjoyed a healthy 80 percent of possession and out-shot Malta by a margin of 23-2 (7-1 on target).

The only side with six points from their first two games, Spain lead Group F by two points over Sweden.

Switzerland 3-3 Denmark

The game of the day.

Remo Freuler put Switzerland ahead after 19 minutes. It would stay that way until the final 25 minutes, when a massive explosion of goals saw the game quickly get out of hand, in the most unimaginable of ways.

Granti Xhaka made it 2-0 in the 66th, and Breel Embolo made it 3-0 in the 76th. That was it, the game was over, done and dusted, right? Wrong.

Mathias Jorgensen brought Denmark back to 3-1 in the 84th, followed by Christian Gytkjaer in the 88th for 3-1. Deep into stoppage time — as in, three minutes deep — Henrik Dalsgaard completed the comeback with a header to clean up a mad scramble of failed headed clearances inside the penalty area.

Norway 3-3 Sweden

While also a six-goal thriller with stoppage-time drama, Sweden’s comeback was only from 2-0 down.

Bjoern Maars Johnsen (41st) and Joshua King (59th) established the lead just before the hour mark, and everything was going exactly to play for Norway. That remained the case until the 70th minute, when scored Viktor Claesson from open play. Norway scored again in the 86th minute, only Havard Nordtveit put the ball into his own net, which drew the Swedes level.

Robin Quaison gave Sweden the lead in the 91st minute, surely sealing all three points in a memorable comeback, right? Wrong again. Ola Kamara’s 96th-minute equalizer meant a 3-3 draw that neither side would be happy with, nor particularly dissatisfied.

Elsewhere in EURO 2010 qualifying

Group D

Ireland 1-0 Georgia

Group F

Romania 4-1 Faroe Islands

Group J

Bosnia & Herzegovina 2-2 Greece
Armenia 0-2 Finland

Schar to sit out next game after being knocked out, playing on

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Fabian Schar will Switzerland’s 2020 European Championship qualifier against Denmark on Tuesday, three days after the defender was apparently knocked unconscious in a 2-0 victory over Georgia but continued to play for more than an hour and finished the game.

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The Newcastle United center back was involved in a nasty clash of heads in the 24th minute. Georgia’s Jano Ananidze tried to stop Schar from swallowing his own tongue and blocking his airway while unconscious. Following nearly five minutes of treatment and evaluation, Schar was allowed to remain in the game. He has since been deemed — with the help of Schar’s club team, Newcastle United — unavailable for Tuesday’s game due to “medical reasons.”

Afterwards, Schar has the following to say about the collision and his state at the time:

“It looks awful, I can’t remember anything. I was out for a few seconds. My skull is still humming. And I’ve got neck ache and a bruise on my forehead. But it was worth it.”

Schar was directly involved in creating both of Switzerland’s second-half goals.

Swiss defender Schar allowed to continue after being knocked out

Associated Press
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Swiss defender Fabian Schar was clearly knocked out on the pitch in the 24th minute but was allowed to continue the match as Switzerland eventually defeated Georgia in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Saturday.

Schar, who plays for Premier League side Newcastle at the club level, suffered a clash of heads with Georgia’s 23-year-old center-back Jemal Tabidze and went to the ground out cold. He lay motionless on his back with his hands at his side and his eyes closed.

Players from both sides attended to Schar immediately, with Georgia’s Zhano Ananidze reaching into Schar’s mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue, a skill players have learned in recent years due to previous on-field incidents of this nature.

Medical personnel attended to Schar for four minutes before play resumed, turning him onto his side before eventually sitting him up, appearing to administer some form of rudimentary concussion assessment, waving a hand in front of his face. Eventually Schar was allowed to return to the match. Tabidze also received lengthy treatment, requiring a bandage around his head to continue.

There has been a heightened awareness around head injuries at the top level of professional soccer, although clubs and national teams still struggle to make smart in-game decisions. Returning to play after suffering a concussion is extremely dangerous, with the risk of Second Impact Syndrome possibly deadly. Just because Schar was knocked unconscious doesn’t mean he suffered a concussion, but given the possibility and its danger, the look is a bad one for Switzerland.

The 24-year-old has been a fixture in the Swiss national team since mid-2014, earning his 48th cap on Saturday. He has been a regular for Newcastle this season since earning a starting spot in early November, making 18 Premier League appearances thus far.

Nations League draw: England-Netherlands, Portugal-Switzerland

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England, Portugal, Switzerland, and the Netherlands know their next obstacle on the path to becoming the first UEFA Nations League champion.

Portugal drew Switzerland, meaning the Netherlands will meet England in the semifinals in Portugal.

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The Dutch and Three Lions have met 21 times, including three World Cups and two European championships.

As for Portugal, the EURO champs will host the Swiss on June 5, with the second semifinal the next day.

The third place game and final played on June 9.