International football is back! Aren’t you excited? Or at the very least crossing all your appendages in a desperate hope that all, or even most, of our international contingent comes back unscathed?
Well, if you hoped for the latter, we can at least say that about Xherdan Shaqiri. The Liverpool newboy, who has just started hitting his stride with the Reds in recent weeks, came on at the half for Switzerland against Qatar with the sides knotted at zeroes. However, he could not help his country find a way past the stingy defense, and a late Qatari strike sunk the home side 1-0.
Although it’s just a friendly, it’s quite a shocking result. Currently, Switzerland is eighth in the FIFA World Rankings. Qatar, while they might place high in the rankings for bribery and human rights abuses while building stadiums, are a lowly 96th in, you know, football.
Shaqiri is back in action with Switzerland on Sunday, this time in a match that UEFA assures us matters more than “just a friendly.” Switzerland host Belgium in the UEFA Nations League A Group 2. And if that means something to you, you understand the UEFA Nations League better than 99% of football fans.
Please don’t get hurt Shaq, and come back and help us score loads of goals. Thanks.