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Akanji feeling empty after Euros penalty heartbreak, says Swiss coach Yakin

Manuel Akanji's saved penalty cost <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/switzerland-women/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Switzerland;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Switzerland</a> a place in the Euro 2024 semi-finals (Adrian DENNIS)
Manuel Akanji's saved penalty cost Switzerland a place in the Euro 2024 semi-finals (Adrian DENNIS)

Murat Yakin said Saturday that Manuel Akanji was feeling empty after his saved penalty led to Switzerland being knocked out of Euro 2024 by England and missing out on a first-ever major tournament semi-final.

Switzerland lost 5-3 on penalties after holding England to a 1-1 draw after extra-time, and Akanji's opening spot-kick for his side was the only one not to be scored in the shoot-out.

"There aren't many words of solace. I said thank you to him for his performance, how he led the team today was of the highest level," Yakin told reporters.

"No words of solace can help him, there is a deep emptiness and deep sadness. Everyone needs to work through it but we can be proud of ourselves.

"Manu said he wanted to go first, you give players responsibility and you can't be angry with players like that."

Switzerland looked set to reach the last four when Breel Embolo poked his team into the lead with 15 minutes remaining, only for Bukayo Saka to level the scores five minutes later.

And the manner of their performance at the tournament, in which they came within seconds of beating Germany and topping Group A and swept Italy aside in the last 16, gave Yakin reason to see the future in a positive light.

"Of course it hurts a lot when we made such an effort and had the chances we had. I'm very sad for the lads and the nation that after a performance like that we have to leave the tournament," added Yakin.

"We've seen the football we played against the big teams, we don't need to hide any more. We didn't get eliminated because we didn't do enough, we had the chances but penalties come down to luck.

"We caused a lot of problems for big teams so we shouldn't let our heads go down. You have winners and losers and unfortunately today we're not the winning team."

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