Switzerland stuns Brazil with 1-0 home victory

Swiss football fans are whooping it up after the “Nati” scored a shock victory on Wednesday over Brazil, five-time winners of the World Cup.

Switzerland stuns Brazil with 1-0 home victory
Brazilian forward Neymar (right) fires a shot in front of Swiss defenders Stephan Lichtsteiner and Philippe Senderos. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

An own goal by Brazilian defender Dani Alves three minutes into the second half was enough to give Switzerland a 1-0 win in front of delrious supporters at the St. Jakob-Park stadium in Basel.

The Barcelona star headed the ball into his own net.

The friendly international result ended a streak of 11 undefeated games for Brazil, recent winners of the Confederations Cup.

They were last defeated by England in February at Wembley Stadium, where they lost 2-1.

Brazil were playing their first match since winning the Confederations Cup in June, and a tense opening half saw three players booked in the first 24 minutes, with Switzerland's Philippe Senderos and Valon Behrami and Brazil's Neymar all being shown yellow cards.

The underdog Swiss were aided by Brazil’s missed opportunities as the Brazilian defence were rarely challenged.

The win nevertheless showed the Swiss side’s potential, coming ahead of next year's World Cup in Brazil and 14 months after Switzerland  beat Germany 5-3 in another friendly game on the Basel pitch.

The result came on a busy night for international football with England edging Scotland 3-2 at Wembley, Portugal tying the Netherlands 1-1 at home and Argentina beating Italy 2-1 in Rome.

Among other friendlies Germany drew 3-3 at home against Paraguay, the US beat Bosnia Hercegovina 3-2 in a come-from-behind win and Sweden beat rivals Norway 4-2.  

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Three scenarios: How Switzerland plans to fight a Covid resurgence

Swiss government has devised three contingency plans that could be implemented to fight a new outbreak. What are they?

Three scenarios: How Switzerland plans to fight a Covid resurgence
Authorities want to prevent overcrowded hospitals if new wave comes. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Although Switzerland relaxed a number of coronavirus rules from June 26th and 28th, “the pandemic is not over”, as Health Minister Alain Berset said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Berset said Switzerland should not become complacent, with last summer a warning against feeling that the battle is won. 

He added, however, that the new wave is unlikely to be as large as the previous ones due to the country’s vaccination campaign.

This situation leaves a degree of uncertainty for which the government wants to be prepared as well as possible, Berset noted.

The Federal Council established a “just-in-case” procedure on Wednesday for three possible scenarios that could take place in the autumn and winter. 

These plans focus mainly on the rapid detection of variants and the continuation of vaccination, testing, and tracing.

The best-case scenario: status quo

In this scenario, the number of cases remains at a low level, though small outbreaks are still possible.

The number of infections may increase slightly due to seasonal factors — the virus is known to spread slower in summer and faster in autumn and winter—  but does not place a significant burden on the health system.

If this happens, no measures beyond those already in place would be necessary.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: Is Switzerland lifting its Covid-19 restrictions too quickly?

Not so good: more contaminations

In this second scenario, there is an increase in the number of cases in autumn or winter.

There may be several reasons for this, for example the large proportion of unvaccinated people, seasonal effects — people tend to stay indoors together in cold weather, and contaminations are easier — or the appearance of new, more infectious variants.

This situation could overburden the health system and require the reintroduction of certain measures, such as the obligation to wear a mask outdoors.

Booster vaccinations may also be necessary.

The worst: new virus mutations

In scenario three, one or more new variants appear, against which the vaccine or the post-recovery immunity are less effective or no longer effective.

A new wave of pandemic emerges, requiring strong intervention by the public authorities and a new vaccination.

Which of the three scenarios is most likely to happen?

The government hasn’t said, but judging by the comments of health officials, the latter two are the strongest contenders.

Firstly, because the highly contagious Delta mutation, which is spreading quickly through many countries, is expected to be dominant in Switzerland within a few weeks.

It is expected that the virus will spread mostly to those who are not vaccinated and, to a lesser degree, to people who have only had one shot of the vaccine, according to Andreas Cerny, epidemiologist at the University of Bern

READ MORE: How Switzerland plans to contain the Delta variant

Another concern is related to the appearance of the new variants which could be as or possibly even more contagious than Delta and not as responsive to the current vaccines.

The government said the best chance of avoiding the second or third scenarios is to ensure people are vaccinated. 

“Widespread vaccination of the population is crucial to relieve the burden on the healthcare system and to manage the epidemic. A possible increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the autumn will largely depend on the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated,” the government wrote in a press statement.

The government has also indicating it is preparing for booster vaccinations to take place in 2022 and are encouraging cantons to keep their vaccine infrastructures in place.