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FOOTBALL

Relief for Switzerland’s Xhaka after training ground injury

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka expressed relief after getting good news about a training ground injury that threatened to scupper his World Cup chances for Switzerland on Thursday.

Relief for Switzerland's Xhaka after training ground injury
Xhaka in action for Arsenal earlier this year. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP

Xhaka hobbled off the pitch fearing he had damaged ligaments in his knee.

But the 25-year-old, who suffered a bone contusion injury that will sideline him for Sunday's friendly against Spain in Villarreal, is expected to return to action quickly.

“I'm very relieved,” Xhaka said via a statement issued by the Swiss football federation.

Xhaka underwent a MRI scan which ruled out a more serious injury.

Swiss team doctor Pierre-Etienne Fournier said: “We're very relieved. He has only suffered a painful bone contusion injury.

“The ligaments are intact, but we wanted to be sure that the meniscus wasn't damaged either.”

Switzerland kick off their World Cup campaign against five-time champions Brazil on June 15th, before then facing Serbia and Costa Rica.

FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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