Switzerland World Cup 2014: Preview, Squad and Stats
Ranked sixth in the FIFA world rankings, Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Swiss side are riding a wave of optimism to South America. Undefeated in qualifying, they go into the tournament as one of the top seeds, and have a very good chance of making it through to the knockout rounds.
Manager: Ottmar Hitzfeld
Captain: Gokhan Inler
World Cup Winners: N/A
World Cup Runners up: N/A
Best Finish: Quarter Finals (1934, 1938, 1954)
Switzerland 2014 World Cup Preview:
While many will scoff at their lofty position in the often contentious FIFA ranking table, the Swiss are certainly capable as a footballing unit. They have an excellent spine, consisting of top players from a number of top leagues, and they are managed by the vastly experienced Hitzfeld. Placed in Group E with France, Ecuador and Honduras; it will be a bit of a surprise if Switzerland fall at the first hurdle.
Captain Gokhan Inler remains their driving force from midfield, but the influence of Juventus defender Stephan Lichtsteiner should be understated. The full-back is devastating in attack, and has superb stamina; something that will serve him well in the Brazilian heat.
Xherdan Shaqiri is their ace in the hole; a real livewire on the flanks, and capable of genuine magic. Up top, Josip Drmic could be a real threat, having taken the Bundesliga by storm last season, scoring 17 goals in 30 games for Nurnburg; but he has not yet hit these heights with the Swiss, and it is imperative for their cause that the goals start to flow for the talented 21-year-old.
Switzerland 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)
Forwards: Josip Drmic (Nuremberg), Mario Gavranovic (Zurich), Admir Mehmedi (Freiburg), Haris Seferovic (Real Sociedad), Granit Xhaka (Borussia Monchengladbach).
Key player(s): Xherdan Shaqiri
Switzerland 2014 World Cup Stats: