Most think of cowbells, alpine skiing and that horrible 60’s musical but under the guidance of one of the gods of world football, Switzerland has managed to qualify for their third consecutive FIFA world cup.
The Swiss finished undefeated and top of group E, ahead of Iceland, Slovenia and Norway and as the number 8 ranked team in the world should have. Group E sees Switzerland up against France, Ecuador and Honduras, and on form the Swiss should have little troubles getting through to at least the last 16. Most of the current generation are regulars of the German Bundesliga or the Swiss league, this could be the best performance at a world cup.
Manager: Ottmar Hetzfeld : Twice “World coach of the Year”, HetzFeld is one of the most successful coaches in world football, and is one of only five managers to win the European Cup / UEFA Champions League with 2 different clubs. The former Borussia Dortmand and Bayern Munich coach took over as Swiss coach in 2008, and is the main reason Switzerland enter the 2014 World Cup as the number 8 ranked FIFA team, the highest in their history
Vladimir Petkovic, former Lazio manager is to take over as head coach after the World Cup, so I’m sure the Swiss would love to send Hetzfeld out on a high.
Xherdan Shaquiri: The 22 year old, has played 17 games and scored 6 goals as understudy to Arjen Robben at Bayern Munich this season, the left footed midfielder is highly regarded for his speed both on and off the ball. One of the up and coming superstars of European football, Shaquiri has the talent to give the French a few group stage headaches. Swiss supporter or not, definitely a player to keep an eye on this World Cup.
Hey, I’d love to see Liverpool actually poach him for their UEFA Champions League raid next year, get that cheque book out Brendan.
Who to look out for
Granit Xhaka: the 21 year old, Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder and the player, Hetzfeld considers to be the next Bastian Schweinsteiger
Josip Drimić: 17 goals in 31 starts for FC Nurnberg sees 21 year old, Drimic as one of the top 3 strikers in the Bundesliga, recently signed with Bayer Leverkusen.
Gökhan Inler: Captain and with 74 caps for his country, Inler provides experience and stability in the central midfield and spine of the Swiss team. If Inler fires so will Switzerland.
Valentin Stocker: My man on the inside reckons the Basel midfielder is worth a look as well
Game 9 – Switzerland v Equador 16/6/14 2:00am (AET)
Game 25 – Switzerland v France 21/6/14 5:00am
Game 41 – Honduras v Switzerland 26/6/14 6:00am
Top 4 finish, the dead set “dark horse” of the 2014 tournament.
Despite popular belief, the Von Trapp Family’s song from “The Sound of Music” has not been adopted as the Swiss national team song.
Previous World Cup Appearances
2014 sees Switzerland qualify for their 10th FIFA World Cup. They also qualified in 1934, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1994, 2006, 2010, making it through to the round 16 in 1994 and 2006 and the quarter finals in 1934, 1938 and 1954
Germany’s the team to beat in 2014, for me, looking forward to seeing Ange and the next gen Socceroos cause a few upsets, though
A million thanks to ex-Newy Legend, Dom Ritter and @FootballSwiss’s Craig King for their insight into the Swiss World Cup Team