Switzerland - Team Profile

Having been regular qualifiers in the early years, Switzerland endured a drought in the 1970s and 1980s

Head the ball:  Swiss  player Xherdan Shaqiri in action during a training session  in Weggis, Switzerland, last month. Photograph: Peter Klaunzer / EPA

Head the ball: Swiss player Xherdan Shaqiri in action during a training session in Weggis, Switzerland, last month. Photograph: Peter Klaunzer / EPA

 

Manager: Ottmar Hitzfeld

Best finish: Quarter-finals (1934, 1938 and 1954).

World Cup record: Played 33, Won 11, Drawn 6, Lost 16

History

Having been regular qualifiers in the early years, Switzerland endured a drought in the 1970s and 1980s when they failed to make a single World Cup. Then along came Roy Hodgson and they qualified for the 1994 finals in the United States, reaching the last 16. Since then, they’ve made it to the 2006 and 2010 finals, the latter an odd one: they beat eventual champions Spain in their opening game, the only defeat the Spanish suffered en route to two successive European Championships and a World Cup in between, then lost to Chile, drew with Honduras to go home.

Whiteboard

Now largely favouring a 4-2-3-1 formation, having had a fondness for the quaint 4-4-2, with Napoli pair Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami usually anchoring his midfield. Hitzfeld’s defence has, as ever, been solid, but he’s now relying on a younger, gifted crew to do what Switzerland have often struggled to do at major tournaments: score goals.

All Star - Xherdan Shaqiri

He’s struggled to nail down a first-team place at Bayern Munich since his move from FC Basel in 2012 but attacking midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri is only 22, so there’s time enough, even if it has to be somewhere else as he has strongly hinted recently.

County Colours – Wicklow

Inoffensive to neutrals, so they have no enemies, but that’s largely because they’re harmless enough.

Pundit’s Corner – Pat Spillane: “Puke football. Blanket defence. Averaged only 1.7 goals (10 points) in their qualifying games. Almost as bad as Tie Rown.” Prospects

They topped their qualifying group ahead of Iceland but with odds of 100 to 1 there aren’t too many tipping them to improve on their previous best of a quarter-final place. That said, they may well have enough to make the knockout stages, with the fortunes of Group E opponents France, Ecuador and Honduras similarly hard to call.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers: 1 Diego Benaglio (Wolfsburg, Ger), 12 Yann Sommer (Basel), 21 Roman Buerki (Grasshopper),

Defenders: 2 Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus, Ita), 3 Reto Ziegler (Sassuolo, Ita), 4 Philippe Senderos (Valencia, Esp), 5 Steve von Bergen (Young Boys), 6 Michael Lang (Grasshopper), 13 Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg, Ger), 20 Johan Djourou (Hamburg, Ger), 22 Fabian Schaer (Basel).

Midfielders: 7 Tranquillo Barnetta (Eintracht Frankfurt, Ger), 8 Gokhan Inler (Napoli, Ita), 10 Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach, Ger), 11 Valon Behrami (Napoli, Ita), 14 Valentin Stocker (Basel), 15 Blerim Dzemaili (Napoli, Ita), 16 Gelson Fernandes (Freiburg, Ger), 23 Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich, Ger).

Forwards: 9 Haris Seferovic (Real Sociedad, Esp), 17 Mario Gavranovic (Zurich), 18 Admir Mehmedi (Freiburg, Ger), 19 Josip Drmic (Nuremberg, Ger).

TEAM LINE-UPS

SWITZERLAND (v Ecuador): 1 Diego Benaglio; 2 Stephan Lichtsteiner, 20 Johan Djourou (yc), 5 Steve von Bergen, 13 Ricardo Rodriguez; 11 Valon Behrami, 8 Gokhan Inler; 23 Xherdan Shaqiri, 10 Granit Xhaka, 14 Valentin Stocker (18 Admir Mehmedi, 46 mins); 19 Josip Drmic (9 Haris Seferovic, 75 mins). 

SWITZERLAND (v France): 1 Diego Benaglio; 2 Stephan Lichtsteiner, 20 Johan Djourou, 5 Steve von Bergen (4 Philippe Senderos, 9 mins), 13 Ricardo Rodriguez; 11 Valon Behrami (15 Blerim Dzemaili, half-time), 8 Gokhan Inler; 23 Xherdan Shaqiri, 10 Granit Xhaka, 18 Admir Mehmedi; 9 Haris Seferovic (19 Josip Drmic, 69 mins).

SWITZERLAND (v Honduras): 1 Diego Benaglio; 2 Stephan Lichtsteiner, 22 Fabian Schaer, 20 Johan Djourou, 13 Ricardo Rodriguez; 11 Valon Behrami, 8 Gokhan Inler; 10 Granit Xhaka (6 Michael Lang, 77 mins), 23 Xherdan Shaqiri (15 Blerim Dzemaili, 87 mins), 18 Admir Mehmedi; 19 Josip Drmic (9 Haris Seferovic, 73 mins).

SWITZERLAND (v Argentina): 1 Diego Benaglio; 2 Stephan Lichtsteiner, 22 Fabian Schaer, 20 Johan Djourou, 13 Ricardo Rodriguez; 11 Valon Behrami, 8 Gokhan Inler; 10 Granit Xhaka (yc) (16 Gelson Fernandes (yc), 66 mins), 23 Xherdan Shaqiri, 18 Admir Mehmedi (15 Blerim Dzemaili, 113 mins); 19 Josip Drmic (9 Haris Seferovic, 82 mins).

 

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