Switzerland star Manuel Akanji breaks silence on penalty miss against England at Euro 2024
Posted by  badge Boss on 6 days ago
Manuel Akanji was the only player to miss his penalty in the shootout (Photo: Getty)

Manuel Akanji says he ‘let his country down’ after his missed penalty allowed in the quarter-finals.

Switzerland were on course to send the Three Lions home early on Saturday after Breel Embolo scored late on, only for to quickly equalise.

The match went to extra-time and then penalties, with Akanji stepping up to take his side’s first spot-kick, but his tame effort was saved by .

It turned out to be the only miss of the shootout, with to the semi-finals of the Euros where on Wednesday night.

It was heartbreak for the Swiss who were on the verge of reaching the last-four in a major tournament for the first time in their history.

It was all too much for Akanji who was consoled by captain Granit Xhaka, as well as England stars , John Stones, Kyle Walker and Cole Palmer, who play or played with the defender at Manchester City.

Speaking afterward, the 28-year-old said, as quoted by the : ‘I let my team down and let my country down.’

But Switzerland manager Murat Yakin fiercely defended his player, revealing that Akanji volunteered to go first in the shootout and praising him for doing so.

‘You give responsibility to your players, and you can’t be angry at them afterwards – players who played a fantastic tournament, especially Manu,’ the 49-year-old said in his post-match press conference.

Jordan Pickford’s water bottle correctly told him to dive to the left to save Akanji’s penalty (Photo: Getty)

‘What can you say to him? Well, there’s not many words of solace. It doesn’t matter, no. I said “thank you” to him for his performance, and also how he led the team, how he performed. This was really on the highest level.

‘Of course, there’s deep emptiness, deep sadness. But this is the kind of sadness where everybody, every individual, has to work through it.

‘It’s incredible. But these moments are part of the business. It is a missed penalty. And now, he doesn’t need to be bothered anymore about it when you see how he played, the responsibility he carried on his shoulders.’

As Yakin says, Akanji played brilliantly throughout the tournament, helping his side beat holders Italy in the last 16 and come very close to defeating hosts Germany in the group stage.

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