In our Switzerland Preview: World Cup 2018, we share our analysis about this Switzerland team. While the Swiss team have a sturdy defense, the big question is whether they can score goals. We take a closer look.
Switzerland Preview: World Cup 2018
Goalkeepers: Roman Buerki, Yvon Mvogo, Yann Sommer
Defenders: Manuel Akanji, Johan Djourou, Nico Elvedi, Michael Lang, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Francois Moubandje, Ricardo Rodriguez, Fabian Schaer
Midfielders: Valon Behrami, Blerim Dzemaili, Gelson Fernandes, Remo Freuler, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Denis Zakaria, Steven Zuber
Forwards: Josip Drmic, Breel Embolo, Haris Seferovic, Mario Gavranovic
- Manager: Vladimir Petković
- Captain: Stephan Lichtsteiner
- Best Finish: Quarter-Finals (1934, 1938, 1954)
Likely starting lineup
We’re getting quite used to seeing Switzerland at World Cups, with Russia their fourth in succession. We’re getting pretty familiar with their setup too.
Indeed, Petkovic has forged a side that’s cohesive on the international stage, with partnerships developing all over the pitch in recent years. It means we’re unlikely to see too many changes here from the XI that was on show in Brazil in 2014.
What Swiss supporters will be hoping is that this group has matured together and after a number of major tournaments with the same core in place, they can kick on and do something special this year. In Brazil, they made it to the last 16 before being eliminated by Argentina.
While they needed the playoffs to get through to the finals—the Swiss beat Northern Ireland over two legs—they were quietly impressive in qualifying, winning nine of their 10 matches. The only loss came away to European champions Portugal.
The side is full of household names. Yann Sommer will start in goal, while the full-back pairing of Lichtsteiner and Ricardo Rodriguez can rival any in the tournament. Granit Xhaka will be tasked with manning midfield, while Xherdan Shaqiri, despite a tough season with Stoke City, will be the one expected to animate the attack.
The big issue for the Swiss in recent years has been providing a multifaceted threat in the final third, with so much of their play going through Shaqiri. With that in mind, Petkovic will be hopeful Breel Embolo can make an impression either playing through the middle or on the right flank.
In Group E the Swiss are poised to battle Serbia for second spot, although they will fancy their chances of springing an upset against Brazil. Whoever does finish second is likely to face defending champions Germany in the first knockout round.
Key Man – Xherdan Shaqiri
While there have been doubts about Shaqiri’s attitude and consistency at club level in recent years, on the biggest international stages the winger has made an impression for Die Nati.
In the 2014 tournament he was sensational, netting a hat-trick in the group stages against Honduras and starring in the eventual loss to Argentina. Then, at the Euros two years ago, Shaqiri scored one of the goals of the tournament against Poland in the last-16 before his side eventually lost on penalties.
For Stoke this season Shaqiri has cut a disconsolate figure, as the Potters were eventually relegated from the top flight. Still, there were still some flashes of inspiration from the 26-year-old, who is still so dangerous when he cuts inside from the right and shoots with his left foot.
You suspect Serbia and Costa Rica will make specific plans to nullify Shaqiri’s influence in those games, whereas against Brazil the winger may have space to work in if they can get the ball to him frequently enough.
History has shown us that Shaqiri will conjure at least one moment that’ll take our breath away in Russia. Switzerland will be hoping they can channel his brilliance in the right way.
Switzerland’s Group Stage fixtures
Sunday, June 17
Friday, June 22
Wednesday, June 27
Switzerland’s path to the final
If Switzerland wins Group E, their Round of 16 game will be against the country that finishes second from Group F which will either be Sweden, Germany, Mexico or South Korea. If Switzerland wins that Round of 16 game, Switzerland will enter the quarterfinal stage with a game against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group G (England, Belgium, Panama or Tunisia) and the team that finishes second in Group H (either Poland, Senegal, Colombia or Japan). If Switzerland advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the A1 vs. B2 versus C1 vs. D2 series.
If Switzerland finishes second in Group E, Switzerland will play the team that finishes first in Group F (either Germany, Mexico, South Korea or Sweden). If Switzerland wins that game, it would be in the quarterfinal against the team that is victorious between the winner of Group H (either Poland, Senegal, Colombia or Japan) and the team that finishes second in Group G (either England, Tunisia, Belgium or Panama). If Switzerland advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the B1 vs. A2 versus D1 vs. C2 series.
Switzerland World Cup shirt (home)
Switzerland’s jersey salutes the country’s landscape. The swirls and curls of a topographical map of the mountains covers the front panel.
The Swiss flag, federation badge and PUMA logo are embroidered. Another version of the Swiss flag is inside the collar. “Suisse” is printed on the upper back.
Switzerland World Cup shirt (away)
The away jersey is white with accent color red on the collar and logos. Faint sublimated stripes made up of microdots are on the front panel. Embroidered team and PUMA logos. “Suisse” is printed on the upper back.
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