Swiss national team player Manuel Engel made his WFCQ2018 debut in today’s game against Iceland! Find out what the SSL-experienced star has to say about today’s game and the qualifications in general.
Does playing in a qualification tournament differ a lot from a tournament like the WFC?
Well, it feels like everything is just a step smaller than the WFC. Obviously, the skill level is higher during the World Cup as well as the interest of the spectators and media. However, it is a good possibility to feel a similar workload with five games in five days, which is otherwise not possible to test.
What are your personal goals during this WFCQ?
First of all the qualification for the WFC is on top of the list. Personally, I want to play as much as possible, get to know my new teammates, both on and off the field. Then I really want to make sure that my presentations are good as well so that I can leave the tournament with a good feeling and take them with me into the important part of the ongoing season as well.
How do you make sure you are charged up for the game?
Everyone in the team wants to perform well, which requires a good preparation before the games. It is even some sort of uncertainty going into these games against nations which we do not play all that often against. If you go into a meeting with the top 4 teams, you know quite well how they play and what you have to expect. The opposite is the case when meeting teams you’ve never met before, so you need to be on a high alert level just to be able adapting to new opponents on the pitch.
And about today’s opponents Iceland. What do you think about them? Did they surprise you?
They did quite a good job during the first 40 minutes, I think. They blocked a lot of shots, therefore supported their goalie well, and had some players causing some offense too. In the third, you could feel that the constant defending took its toll on them and the small mistakes took over a little bit more, which made it somewhat easier for us then. As I said before, it is always exciting and a little bit unknown to meet new teams, but we tried to play our game, test new ideas, try to get some routines into the different lines and we successfully did that today.