Switzerland - World Cup 2014 Team Profile
Road to Brazil
Switzerland easily came through UEFA European qualifying Group E winning the group seven points ahead of Iceland and nine more than Slovenia. The Swiss conceded only six goals while scoring 17.
Switzerland Kit 1
Switzerland Kit 2
Switzerland v Ecuador 15 June; Brasilia
Switzerland v France 20 June; Salvador
Switzerland v Honduras 25 June; Manaus
The Swiss team at World Cup 2006 became the first to exit the tournament without conceding a goal, losing on penalties after a sterile 0-0 draw with Ukraine. The Swiss squad at 2010 did manage to beat the eventual winners Spain but scored only once while conceding one.
This time around the team includes a number of younger players who won the Under-17 World Cup in 2009.
An impressive youth system has harnessed the talents of a core of this squad with a number of them immigrants from the Balkans after the break up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s including Pajtim Kasami, Blerim Dzemaili and Admir Mehmedi (all from Macedonia), Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami (both from Kosovo) and Mario Gavranovic and Josip Drmic (both with Croatian roots).
More attacking than previous Swiss teams of the past, the players are all technically sound and able to interchange positions with ease. In defence Fabian Schar has impressed at Basle and at the 2012 Olympics while Stephan Lichtsteiner is an established star with Juve in Serie A at right back. Napoli pairing of Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami provide silk and steel in midfield.
Key player: Xherdan Shaqiri
Shaqiri should be fresh as he did not get that much playing time at Bayern last season as back up to Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben. Shaqiri plays on the right of the three in a settled 4-2-3-1 formation and links well with lone striker Josep Drmic. Shaqiri is also dangerous from free-kicks and long range with his powerful shooting.
One to watch: Gokhan Inler
Inler is captain of the side and brings experience having played at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. A hard-working, hard-tackling midfield enforcer, Inler also packs a powerful shot.
Coach: Ottmar Hitzfeld
The vastly experienced Ottmar Hitzfeld won the Bundesliga five times with Bayern, twice with Borussia Dortmund and the Champions League with both. Quite a CV.
1950, 1962, 1966, 2010 First Round; 1946, 2006 Second Round; 1934, 1938, 1954 Quarterfinals.
Switzerland should be able to progress from the group with, we think, France. The key game should be against Ecuador in the opener in Brasilia.
2014 World Cup Squad
Goalkeepers: Diego Benaglio (Wolfsburg), Roman Buerki (Grasshopper), Yann Sommer (Basel)
Defenders: Johan Djourou (Hamburg), Michael Lang (Grasshopper), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Fabian Schaer (Basel), Philippe Senderos (Valencia), Steve von Bergen (Young Boys), Reto Ziegler (Sassuolo)
Midfielders: Tranquillo Barnetta (Eintracht Frankfurt), Valon Behrami (Napoli), Blerim Dzemaili (Napoli), Gelson Fernandes (Freiburg), Gokhan Inler (Napoli), Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich), Valentin Stocker (Basel)
Strikers: Josip Drmic (Nuremberg), Mario Gavranovic (Zurich), Admir Mehmedi (Freiburg), Haris Seferovic (Real Sociedad), Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach)