Spain have fallen to a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Switzerland to surrender their UEFA Nations League Group A2 lead.
Manuel Akanji gave the visitors a shock lead on 21 minutes, dominating Cesar Azpilicueta physically at a corner before heading down and out of the reach of Unai Simon.
Spain, playing with Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio as their central attacker, dominated the midfield and the flanks, but had no presence in the Swiss box.
The home side virtually monopolised possession for long spells, but could do little with it.
The Swiss had just 31% possession but finished with more shots, more shots on target, more corners and more offsides.
Switzerland pressed selectively, not over-committing in defence, as they effectively stifled Spain.
Asensio made Spain’s equaliser with a sensational run early in the second half, drawing the entire Swiss defence out of position before rolling a pass into the path of Jordi Alba who could not miss.
Switzerland were back in front just four minutes later though, as the impressive Akanji turned provider, flicking on a corner for Breel Embolo to score. The goal was eventually awarded as an own goal against Eric Garcia.
Five second-half substitutions from Spain did little to change the nature of the game as the Swiss continued to pack the box and mute the home side’s attack.
Switzerland had never before beaten Spain in Spain, and only tasted success against their illustrious opponents once before in any meeting – that the famous 2010 World Cup group stage clash – but they were well worth their victory against their toothless hosts.
The upset moves Switzerland off the bottom of the group, while Spain relinquish top spot to Portugal, who they will face on Tuesday in a de facto playoff for a semi-final berth.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – MANUEL AKANJI
Akanji was immense for Switzerland against Spain. For the visitors to win, they needed their centre backs to deliver big performances, and Akanji did just that. Under constant pressure from Spanish possession, Akanji stayed calm. The Manchester City defender headed everything away, but also read the game impeccably and was constantly cleaning up on the ground as well. Beyond a faultless defensive performance, Akanji also scored Switzerland’s opening goal by dominating Azpilicueta, and got the crucial flick-on for their winner.
He was also the only Swiss player to get through 90 minutes without conceding a foul.
Spain: Unai Simon 5, Alba 6, Pau Torres 5, Garcia 6, Azpilicueta 4, Pedri 6, Busquets 6, Gavi 5, Sarabia 5, Asensio 6, Ferran Torres 7 Subs: Borja 7, Soler 7, Williams 7, Pino 7, Marcos Llorente 7
Switzerland: Sommer 7, Elvedi 6, Akanji 9, Rodriguez 6, Widmer 6, Shaqiri 7, Xhaka 7, Freuler 6, Embolo 8, Vargas 8, Sow 6. Subs: Steffen 7, Seferovic N/A, Aebischer 6, Zakaria 6, Ndoye 6
21’ GOAL SWITZERLAND
Manuel Akanji does brilliantly to body Azpilucueta, before heading down and out of reach of Unai Simon.
37’ VARGAS INCHES AWAY
Widmer’s dangerous cross only just evades the leaping Vargas. That could easily have been 2-0.
43’ WHAT A RUN, SHAQIRI
The ex-Liverpool man dances right through the Spanish defence and takes on Simon, but his shot flashes just wide of the post.
56’ GREAT GOAL SPAIN
A magnificent run from Marco Asensio in the inside right channel drags the entire Swiss defence out of position before the Real Madrid winger rolls a ball into the path of Jordi Alba who cannot miss.
59’ GOAL SWITZERLAND
Akanji flicks on from a corner and Breel Embolo stands strong under pressure as he turns it goalwards.
62’ SHOULD BE THREE FOR SWITZERLAND
Switzerland break fast and in numbers, and Unai Simon spills the resultant cross at the feet of Vargas who somehow fails to score from point-blank range.