Narrowly missing out on top of the group, Switzerland had to beat Northern Ireland in the playoffs to qualify,
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Related: World Cup Friendlies
Switzerland World Cup Fixtures
Related: World Cup Fixtures
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.
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.
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.
Breel Embolo had to sit out most of the campaign after suffering a serious injury during a Bundesliga match with Schalke in October 2016.
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
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.
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.
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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