For Nati, the countdown to the World Cup also began on the field. There, Embolo proves himself in an unfamiliar role.
The thermometer read exactly 30 degrees when the Swiss national team entered the training ground at the University of Science and Technology in Doha for the first time shortly before 16:00 on Tuesday. Beyond the spacious facility – which also includes padel courts and a cricket pitch – Doha’s impressive skyline rises into the sky.
The “base” chosen by the Swiss Football Association for the World Cup is well placed. The training ground is only a 15-minute drive from the Nati Hotel. In any case, what has been proclaimed for a long time will quickly become clear: the World Cup in Qatar is a short distance away.
Tour of the «Wider Want» stadium
During the approximately 20-minute bus ride of the SRG delegation from the airport to the hotel, you could already see Al Thumama and Al Janoub Stadium, where Switzerland will play their opening match. On the way from the hotel to IBC (International Broadcast Center), you will pass Education City and Khalifa International Stadium. All 8 World Cup stadiums are within a radius of almost 35 kilometers.
On the other hand, there is (still) little sign of any World Cup euphoria. The streets are sometimes lined with advertising banners and national flags, except for three painstakingly “disguised” Mexicans at the airport, there is still no sign of fans. But there is still time before the opening game next Sunday.
summer with you
Of course, the national team doesn’t think much of that. From Monday afternoon, attention focused on the start of the World Cup. The key word is acclimatization. Only two training sessions are on the schedule before Thursday’s only warm-up game against Ghana in Abu Dhabi. Good for coach Murat Yakin: Yann Sommer, who recently injured his ankle, is doing the entire program at the gallop.
After about an hour, the session ends with a relaxed battle for a free kick. Breel Embolo tests the keeper and looks good. “If I had gloves, I would be at least number 2 in the hierarchy,” the in-form striker joked to the journalists present. Speaking of journalists: If necessary, they could retreat to the air-conditioned media booth.