Narrowly missing out on top of the group, Switzerland had to beat Northern Ireland in the playoffs to qualify,

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Switzerland World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide

Switzerland won their first nine qualifiers but were still edged into second place on goal difference by Portugal after they lost 2-0 in Lisbon. They then squeezed through the play-offs, winning 1-0 on aggregate against Northern Ireland to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. This should be a team at its peak, with a number of key players – such as Ricardo Rodriguez, Fabian Schar, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka and Haris Seferovic – all now in their mid-twenties.

Related: World Cup TV Schedule

Key Moments in Qualifying 

Sep 2016
Fresh from winning the Euro 2016 title, and without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal are caught off guard in Basle as Switzerland beat them 2-0 in the opening match
of the campaign.
Oct 2017
Both teams win their next eight games, setting up a showdown in Lisbon. Portugal win comfortably to top the group and send the Swiss into the play-offs.
Nov 2017
A controversial penalty, awarded for handball by Corry Evans and scored by Rodriguez, gives Switzerland a 1-0 victory in the first leg of their play-off against Northern Ireland. Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic says the decision was harsh but that his team deserved to win in any case.
Nov 2017
Rodriguez again foils Northern Ireland with a clearance off his line in stoppage time in a 0-0 draw that sends Switzerland to Russia.

Switzerland World Cup Group

Switzerland are in Group E alongside Brazil, Costa Rica and Serbia.

Switzerland World Cup Friendlies

Switzerland beat Greece on the 23rd of March, and will play Panama on the 27th four days later. Two more warm-up games follow on the 3rd and 8th of June against Spain and Japan.

  • 23rd March – Greece (won 1-0)
  • 27th March – Panama (won 6-0)
  • 3rd June – Spain
  • 8th June – Japan

Related: World Cup Friendlies

Switzerland World Cup Fixtures

They open their account against Brazil on the 17th June, Serbia follow on the 22nd and finally Costa Rica on the 27th.

Related: World Cup Fixtures

The Coach 

Vladimir Petkovic, age 54 (15.08.63)
Replaced Ottmar Hitzfeld following the 2014 World Cup and led the Swiss to the last 16 at Euro 2016. Before that he coached several Swiss clubs, as well as Lazio in Serie A. Born in the former Yugoslavia, he began his playing career with Sarajevo and won the league in 1985. Spent the rest of his playing career in Switzerland.

Fortunate: A controversial handball gave Switzerland a 1-0 victory in Ireland (Getty Images)

The Players 
Star
Xherdan Shaqiri‘s career has not quite lived up to early expectations, but there is always danger when he gets the ball onto his left foot and he is the Swiss player most likely to conjure up something from nothing.
Stalwarts
Yann Sommer has replaced Diego Benaglio in goal. Captain Stephan Lichtsteiner provides an attacking option from right-back, while on the other side Rodriguez is the dead-ball specialist.
Missing
Breel Embolo had to sit out most of the campaign after suffering a serious injury during a Bundesliga match with Schalke in October 2016.
Debuts
Defender Manuel Akanji and midfielders Remo Freuler and Steven Zuber all came into the side.

Related: World Cup Stadiums

Switzerland World Cup Squad

Preliminary World Cup Squad – 

Goalkeepers – Roman Burki, Marwin Hitz, Yann Sommer

Defenders – Manuel Akanji, Johan Djourou, Nico Elvedi, Michael Lang, Stephan Lichsteiner, Francois Moubandje, Ricardo Rodriguez, Fabian Schar

Midfielders – Valon Behrami, Blerim Dzemaili, Gelson Fernandes, Remo Freuler, Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka, Denis Zakaria, Steven Zuber

Forwards – Josip Drmic, Breel Embolo, Admir Mehmedi, Haris Seferovic

Switzerland World Cup Injuries

We will update you with injuries here.

Deliver: Can Shaqiri conjure enough magic to get Switzerland through? (Getty Images)

The Unanswered Questions

Who will score the goals?
Haris Seferovic started as the lone striker in all but one of Switzerland’s qualifiers and managed to score four goals. However, his shooting can be erratic at times, and following his performance against Northern Ireland – particularly after he was jeered during the home game – there now appears to be a question mark over his place in the team.

Is Granit Xhaka the real deal?
While Xherdan Shaqiri is the team’s star turn, it is their defensive midfielder who makes them tick. Xhaka pulls the strings in midfield with his passing and his anticipation of dangerous situations, although he is also prone to defensive mistakes and giving the ball away.

Real Deal: Is Xhaka the real deal in the midfield? (Getty Images)

Who will play alongside Xhaka?
Denis Zakaria was thrown into the two-leg play-off tie against Northern Ireland and made an immediate impression. Switzerland can also call on the veteran Valon Behrami or another relative newcomer Remo Freuler.

Are Switzerland as good as their line-up on paper suggests?
With nearly all of their players based at clubs in Europe’s so-called big five leagues, and in the Bundesliga especially, the Swiss squad looks to be potentially one of the strongest at next year’s World Cup. But when they faced their stiffest test in the qualifiers they were found wanting, beaten comfortably away by Portugal.

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