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ESPN FC's Euro 2016 awards

Euro 2016
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Arsenal's Granit Xhaka defended after red card for Switzerland vs. Portgual

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic has backed Granit Xhaka after the Arsenal midfielder was sent off in their 2-0 win against European champions Portugal on Tuesday night.

Xhaka, 23, was dismissed in the third minute of added time after picking up his second booking in the World Cup qualifier.

He will now sit out Switzerland's next match in Hungary on Oct. 7, but could return for the match at Andorra three days later.

Speaking to reporters following the match, Petkovic said: "Those were two half-yellow cards for me, and that's why I was a bit annoyed.

"We'll miss him, but we'll try to make up for it with a team performance against Hungary. Granit has put in a good performance and also showed leadership skills."

Switzerland were knocked out of Euro 2016 by Poland at the round-of-16 stage, but their win against the European champions Portugal, who were without Cristiano Ronaldo, boosted their 2018 World Cup qualification hopes, with Faroe Islands and Latvia completing Group B.

"We've not made a step back, but one, maybe even two forward. We were there from minute one, and showed a good performance. We should now celebrate, but tomorrow we have to have our feet firmly on the ground again," Petkovic said. "There are still nine matches."

Switzerland attacker Breel Embolo, who opened the scoring in Basel, was proud to contribute to the win in his old home.

"This was a special moment for me," the 19-year-old, who joined Schalke from Basel this summer, said.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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