Soccer-Scotland dig deep to stay alive with Switzerland draw


Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - Group A - Scotland v Switzerland - Cologne Stadium, Cologne, Germany - June 19, 2024 Switzerland coach Murat Yakin and players after the match REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

COLOGNE, Germany (Reuters) - Scotland kept alive hopes of reaching the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time by holding Switzerland to a gripping 1-1 draw at Euro 2024 on Wednesday thanks to an early goal from Scott McTominay.

Out to rescue their battered pride after a miserable 5-1 drubbing by hosts Germany, Scotland went ahead after 13 minutes from McTominay's deflected shot before the Swiss quickly drew level with a stunning strike from Xherdan Shaqiri following a defensive blunder.

Switzerland looked the more dangerous team and had the best of the chances in a lively match but the Scots, lifted by a rapturous travelling support, fought hard to keep them at bay, with pacy Swiss forward Dan Ndoye going close several times.

Switzerland are seeking to qualify for the knockout rounds of a sixth successive major tournament but they spurned their chance of advancing early with Group A rivals Germany, as the Scots repelled countless attacks and came close to scoring twice in a spirited second-half showing.

Scotland were transformed from the meek and disorganised side humiliated by Germany in the first game, spreading the ball around confidently and testing Switzerland in response to their exuberant support.

"That's what we expected. This is the way we've been playing for the last three or four years," Scotland manager Steve Clarke told reporters.

"We knew what we had to do it. It was a good team performance against good opponents and a good reaction... We're still alive."

Switzerland coach Murat Yakin brought forward Xherdan Shaqiri back into the starting lineup after missing games amid fitness doubts, and the move paid dividends, with the veteran causing plenty of trouble for the Scottish defence.

BRIGHT START

Scotland started brightly and went in front on the break when Andy Robertson surged down the left before finding Callum McGregor who teed up McTominay for a shot that deflected into the net off Fabian Schar.

Switzerland nearly equalised when Ricardo Rodriguez fired a volley wide of the post and their pressure paid off when Shaqiri charged towards the area to intercept a poor Scottish pass and fired a curling shot into the top corner.

Ndoye nearly made it two for Switzerland when he forced a save from keeper Angus Gunn and he had a goal disallowed for offside from the resulting corner.

Scotland came out fighting in the second half and had a succession of chances, almost going back in front when Grant Hanley headed a cross against the post.

McTominay nearly grabbed a second nine minutes from time with a sweet strike inside the area which was blocked by Manuel Akanji.

"We had our chances, but so did they, it was an open game, two really good teams going at it," Scotland captain Robertson said.

"It was just about getting back to being us," he said. "We've also left absolutely everything out there today."

Swiss coach Yakin said Switzerland paid the price for missed chances but were still in a good position.

"Their pride was hurt and we expected them to react... we had to expend more energy than we expected to equalise," he said.

"We could have won the game, we missed some really big opportunities."

(Reporting by Martin Petty; Additional reporting by Lori Ewing; editing by Ed Osmond)

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