Breel Embolo: We want to deliver!
After the 2016 European Championships, Breel Embolo will take part in his second big tournament. On Sunday (17.06. at 20:00 CEST) the Swiss kick of their World Cup campaign against Brazil. The attacker spoke to schalke04.de about the tournament in Russia.
Breel, how did your preparation for the World Cup go? Are you in form and ready to crack on?
The preparation went very well. We feel ready. Both warm-up matches helped us greatly. We know that we have to adjust a few things before the tournament. But we go in with confidence.
In the last friendly before the World Cup, you made the starting XI. How do you see your chances of starting in the game against Brazil?
I have fully overcome my injury, am fit and have no physical issues. That’s the most important thing. Against Japan I started the match and gave a good performance. Of course there are things which I would have done slightly differently. But I feel good and ready, nevertheless. Ultimately, the coach decides who he wants on the pitch. He gives us his ideas and we try to put them into practice.
We respect every opponent and know that every team in the group has something about them.
Is it a positive or a negative thing to face the tournament favourites in the first match?
I believe that the game will have a vital role. In such a big tournament, every opponent is strong. Every team here has strived for and earned their World Cup place. Playing against Brazil so soon is a huge challenge for us. Everyone knows about the world class players in the Brazilian ranks. But we also know what we can do. We respect them, but we’re not scared of them. So we’re happy to have the chance to test ourselves against such a strong opponent. It will be a really thrilling game – hopefully with a positive result for us.
How do you rate your chances in the group with Brazil, Serbia and Costa Rica?
Naturally, we want to make it through to the knockout phase. That is our goal. But in such a tournament, anything can happen. We respect every opponent and know that every team in the group has something about them. It’s obvious, but we want to deliver! We’ll see how it all turns out. They’ll definitely be an exciting set of contests.
Before the World Cup, you and Matija Nastasic were looking forward to an S04-duel in the group stages. Have you got in touch with him since he found out he would play no part in the World Cup?
We were really looking forward to the duel. But we both had a bit of misfortune in the run-up after we got injured at the end of the season. Sadly, Matija didn’t make the cut. We talk now and again. For me, it was surprising that he wasn’t selected in the end. I was convinced he would make it. He did everything possible to get fit. He is a very important player and his omission from the Serbia squad will be a big loss. Granted, it’s a positive for us. But it’s a real shame that such a good player won’t be at the tournament.
After the 2016 European Championships in France, this is your second big international tournament with Switzerland. Did your experiences from two years ago help you prepare for the World Cup?
Absolutely. The Euros was a great event. Naturally as a young player, you gain a wealth of experience at such a massive tournament. You take the positives with you and try to learn from the negative aspects. I think that our loss to Poland was undeserved. We have developed hugely since then. Every player has taken a step forward. I personally have particularly improved psychologically, but physically too. Nevertheless, the World Cup is a whole different level. We shall see how far we get this time.