World Cup 2014 Group E – Switzerland

Outright odds: 150/1

To win group: 11/4

To qualify: 4/6

 

Full squad: Diego Benaglio (VfL Wolfsburg), Yann Sommer (FC Basel), Roman Buerki (Grasshoppers), Johan Djourou (Hamburg SV), Michael Lang (Grasshoppers), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Ricardo Rodriguez (VfL Wolfsburg), Fabian Schaer (FC Basel), Philippe Senderos (Valencia), Steve von Bergen (Young Boys), Reto Ziegler (Sassuolo), Tranquillo Barnetta (Eintracht Frankfurt), Valon Behrami (Napoli), Blerim Dzemaili (Napoli), Gelson Fernandes (Freiburg), Gokhan Inler (Napoli), Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich), Valentin Stocker (FC Basel), Granit Xhaka (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Josip Drmic (Nuremberg), Mario Gavranovic (FC Zurich), Haris Seferovic (Real Socieded), Admir Mehmedi (Freiburg).

 

Manager: Ottmar Hitzfeld

 

World Cup record: Quarter-finals (1934, 1938, 1954).

 

 

Switzerland were the only side to beat Spain at the last World Cup, although they failed to get out of the group stages, but their time at Brazil in 2014 could see them making the knockouts at least. Golden generations are a common thing in international football but a large part of Switzerland’s squad won the under 17 World Cup in Nigeria in 2009 and also finished runner up in the 2011 under 21 European Championship.

 

 

 

After an impressive qualifying campaign where they finished 7 points clear of Iceland, added with a fine run of friendlies they are now ranked eighth in the World, a ranking which might flatter them, but there’s no doubting their talents and they can make a big impression.

 

Their forward line is equal or better than most sides at this tournament, with Hertha Berlin’s Valentin Stocker, Granit Xhaka of Monchengladbach, and Xherdan Shaqiri of Bayern Munich forming a fantastic midfield trio with flair, pace and imagination and giving the young and promising Josip Drmic plenty of support. Drmic scored 17 goals in the Bundesliga this season and looks to be a potential forward threat while backups Mehmedi and Gavaranovic both went into double figures. Harris Seferovic may have struggled badly in La Liga, but it may be that the Swiss don’t rely upon him heavily for goals.

 

 

 

Gokhan Inler is joined by Napoli team-mate Valon Behrami in the centre of midfield, creating a partnership that provides a lot of power in the midfield as shown by their impressive performances in almost escaping a group of death in the Champions League and then winning the Coppa Italia along with a third place finish in Serie A.

 

 

Arguably the start of the show is Stefan Liechtensteiner, the superb Juventus wingback who has made that spot his own in Italy, while Riccardo Rodriguez has also been impressive for Wolfsburg and even at the age of 21 looks to be ready for this step upto onto the world stage.

 

 

Ottmar Hitzfeld’s world of experience – he has won the Champions League with both Bayern and Borussia Dortmund as well as 5 Bundesliga titles – has been of great benefit towards crafting a fine young side that could make a big impression in Brazil.

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