The former Vaudois professional and Swiss team player looks back on the shock against Italy this Tuesday at the Stockhorn Arena in Thun (5:45 PM). The opportunity to discuss the development of women’s football with her.
First place in Group G. And a giant step towards Australia/New Zealand for the World Cup. That is the challenge of the meeting between the Swiss team and Italy, next Tuesday in Thun (5.45 pm), as part of the qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup.
For this game, Nils Nielsen’s troops are one point ahead of the Transalpines, while two other games – in Croatia and against Moldova in early September – remain on the schedule. After 7 games still unbeaten in this campaign, the Swiss will have to do a lot to confirm last November’s performance in Naples (success 1-2). The Vaudoise Noémie Beney, former professional with 43 caps in the national jersey between 2007 and 2010, returns with us to this “final”.
Noémie Beney, how do you view the Swiss team’s qualifying campaign?
Until Friday’s game it was clear, even if not everything was perfect. If we had offered the Nati at the beginning of the play-offs to be in this situation at that moment, everyone would have signed. Of course, the distribution of points in Romania creates a little sand in the wheel (note: 1-1)† But we remain in a very good position, with all the cards in hand.
Is this draw in Bucharest not a bad omen?
No, I don’t think so, it’s part of football. Switzerland was especially unlucky, because they created enough chances. Sometimes these kinds of contests allow you to dig a little deeper into yourself for the next deadlines. During the final qualifying stage for the European Championship, the Nati had conceded a draw in Croatia before putting on a big performance against Belgium a few days later. (note: 2-1 win)† We have to take advantage of this draw to handle the clash against Italy in the best conditions.
Several indisputable keepers have had health issues and are not in top shape. Isn’t that worrying?
Of course, we ask ourselves questions when our protagonists aren’t in their best shape. But Nils Nielsen has enough experience to find solutions and mobilize his troops. The players who will be involved will develop more motivation to prove that they have their place on the pitch.
How do you rate the Swiss team’s progress over the years?
She continues to make progress. These were pretty tough times, with a hard core that evolved together for a very long time and gradually crumbled, with the departures of Lara Dickenmann, Caroline Abbé and Martina Moser. And we weren’t sure if the next generation would follow. But we see that the training in Switzerland is quite good, because the young people who arrive in the A-team bring something with them. We keep fighting to qualify for major leagues, so we are on the right track. The next step really is to get there regularly. The best has yet to come.
What about the Italian team?
It’s a growing team. As evidenced by the course of Juve, made up of many Italian internationals in the Champions League, who defeated Lyon in the quarter-final of the first leg.
Women’s football is booming and the attendance record was broken in the quarter-final of the second leg between Barça and Real (91,553 spectators at Camp Nou). How are you living this boom?
I was lucky enough to be in Camp Nou, it was magical. An incredible evening. A lot has changed in recent years: national associations have evolved, international governing bodies have decided to make women’s football a priority. We see that when we give the players good guidance and good facilities, the level rises very quickly. It makes for some great matches to watch.
And in Switzerland, where are we?
A lot of work has been done and the level of the League has risen. But Switzerland remains a very small country, with a limited number of licensees. The Super League is primarily a training championship, where young people can play at the highest level before taking the step abroad. Of course we want it to go faster, but it takes time. Even for the men, once we get to the Challenge League, conditions are far from optimal. Switzerland is not the football country par excellence, but it is making progress. Servette’s journey in the Champions League has sparked quite a bit of interest. It is by being visible and providing a beautiful show that we attract attention.
Finally a little prediction for tonight’s game?
I’ve always been bad at predictions, but I’m hoping for a 2-1 for Switzerland!
Florian Pacaudholder of a master’s degree in sports sciences with a social orientation, has been a journalist for Sport-Center since January 2021. Before that, he worked as an agency, print editor and web pilot.
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