Haris Seferovic secures hero status in Switzerland after all the scorn | Nick Ames

Haris Seferovic secures hero status in Switzerland after all the scorn | Nick Ames

01-Jul-2021 14:55:04 | The Guardian

Forward once mercilessly jeered for his misses won over the fans with two goals against France and now hopes to stun Spain

Looking back, perhaps the jeers changed Haris Seferovic’s career. The suggestion would have been cold comfort at the time: it was November 2017 and, although Switzerland were about to squeak through a World Cup play-off against Northern Ireland, things would have been easier if their centre-forward could score. Seferovic had missed two clear chances and the crowd at Saint Jakob-Park let him know it upon his substitution three minutes from time. He received a scornful send-off and, given his replacement was the prodigious Breel Embolo, there was every reason to question his future in international football. “The whistles triggered something in me, I had to process them,” Seferovic said two years later. “I told myself that I would never give up, and kept working.”

It may have taken time, but the reward has been thrilling. The headers Seferovic planted past Hugo Lloris on an extraordinary occasion in Bucharest, his second and third goals of Euro 2020, helped to give Switzerland their greatest footballing moment and completed a night of personal affirmation. Seferovic has always been hard to read: profligate to prolific, heroic to horrific, he has lurched between the extremes to an often wild degree. During major tournaments he has often cut an unfortunate figure, showing up time and again but fluffing his lines. But he arrived at this one in the form of his life and at 29 a talent that felt jagged around the edges is making itself whole.

Related: Denmark’s unity and belief could carry them to the Euro 2020 final | Pernille Harder

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