Monday 21 September 2020, 06:26

Swiss call worth the wait for Basel captain Huber

  • Melanie Huber recently received her first call-up to the Switzerland squad

  • It has been a special experience for the FC Basel captain

  • "I settled in and felt at home really quickly"

Switzerland’s 1-1 draw with Croatia was not the result coach Nils Nielsen’s side were hoping for in their quest to reach UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

"It didn’t all go to plan," concluded Melanie Huber in an interview with "At the end of the day Croatia only had two chances and scored a goal. We had one or two more opportunities in the first half and weren’t efficient enough. We made the match difficult for ourselves with little inaccuracies, and that interrupted the flow of our play."

Until recently it also looked as though things were not meant to be when it came to the FC Basel captain’s career with La Nati. After briefly taking part in performance training with the national team in November 2014, a serious injury scuppered her international ambitions, and she only returned to the pitch in October 2015. "It just wasn’t the right time and didn’t work out. This is the first time I’ve actually been part of it," explained the 27-year-old, who clearly enjoyed her initial few days with the Switzerland squad.

"I didn’t know many players before this," Huber continued. "The professionalism is also totally different here than at club level. Everything on the training pitch went quite quickly. Chatting with people meant that I settled in and felt at home really quickly." The defender’s strong performances for FCB caught the attention of Nils Nielsen, who justified her call-up by saying: "Huber has made an impressive start to the new season."

Huber and Basel currently sit third in the Swiss Super League, having recorded an emphatic win over record-breaking champions FC Zurich along the way. FCB and the national team have something in common – the perfect blend of experienced players and talented youngsters who "ultimately all share the same goals, and that’s what unites all of us when it comes to football".

The Swiss will be hoping that this unity and shared commitment will deliver success in their match against Belgium. Their fate remains in their hands as they seek to qualify for the 2022 finals in England based on their own performances. Victory at the Stockhorn Arena in Thun on Tuesday will be vital if they are to achieve this objective.

"After the game against Croatia we took another look at the things we can improve," explained Huber, "but after that we put it aside straight away and focused fully on the match against Belgium. It’s important that we follow our game plan and give it our all. We need to find our rhythm and follow our plan – if we can do that then we’ll do well," she added confidently.

Although she has yet to play a minute for Die Eidgenossinnen, Huber will take plenty of valuable experience back with her to her club. "Training with the national team is much more intense and the quality of the players is on another level. Most of the squad play abroad. I think I need to continue trying to lead my team at FCB. I’ll follow the example of the national side’s top players. I’ll try to maintain the intensity and energy I experienced here and take that into my training with FC Basel."

Group standings ahead of the match against Belgium

Group HGamesWinsDrawsLossesGoals forGoals againstPoints
1. Belgium550023315
2. Switzerland541016113
3. Croatia51135144
4. Romania41034133
5. Lithuania50051180