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 have been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup.
Switzerland vs Sweden – Round of 16 (July 3rd) Match Report
Switzerland Starting XI: 1 Yann Sommer, 5 Manuel Akanji, 6 Michael Lang, 10 Granit Xhaka, 11 Valon Behrami, 13 Ricardo Rodriguez, 14 Steven Zuber (7 Breel Embolo 73), 15 Blerim Dzemaili (9 Haris Seferovic 73), 19 Josip Drmic, 20 Yohan Djourou, 23 Xherdan Shaqiri
Sweden Starting XI: 1 Robin Olsen, 2 Mikael Lustig (16 Emil Krafth 82, 3 Victor Lindelof, 4 Andreas Granqvist, 6 Ludwig Augustinsson, 8 Albin Ekdal, 9 Marcus Berg (22 Isaac Kiese Thelin 90),10 Emil Forsburg (5 Martin Olsson 82), 13 Gustav Svensson, 17 Viktor Claesson, 20 Ola Toivonen
Sweden 1 Switzerland 0
Sweden: Forsberg 67
Sweden reached the quarter-final for the first time since 1994 in match that featured lots of endeavour and defensive discipline but little goalmouth sparkle.
Both teams were guilty of missing chances. Marcus Berg and Albin Ekdal were profligate for Sweden while Blerim Dzemaili put Switzerland’s best chance wide.
With defences on top, it needed a stroke of luck for either side to make the breakthrough. It came midway through the second half when Emil Forsberg’s speculative shot took a heavy deflection for the only goal of the game.
Haris Seferovic saw a late header saved by Yann Sommer but as the Swiss pushed for an equaliser Sweden broke away and almost scored a second in stoppage time. Michael Lang was sent off for his push on Martin Olsson but VAR ruled out a penalty.
Matter of fact
Switzerland once again failed to score as they repeated their round-of-16 defeats of 1994, 2006 and 2014.
Although Switzerland had the technically superior players, Sweden showed a collective will to win when it mattered most.
Possession (%): 37/63
Goal attempts: 12/18
Attempts on target: 6/5
Pass accuracy (%): 73/83
Distance covered (km): 105/103
Switzerland vs Costa Rica (27th June) Match Report
Switzerland Starting XI: 1 Yann Sommer, 2 Stefan Lichtsteiner, 5 Manuel Akanji, 7 Breel Embolo, 10 Granit Xhaka, 11 Valon Behrami (7 Denis Zakaria 60), 13 Ricardo Rodriguez, 15 Blerim Dzemaili, 18 Mario Gavranovic (19 Josip Drmic 69), 22 Fabian Schar, 23 Xherden Shaqiri (6 Michael Lang 81)
Costa Rica Starting XI: 1 Keylor Navas, 2 Johnny Acosta, 3 Giancarlo Gonzalez, 5 Celso Borges, 8 Bryan Oviedo, 9 Daniel Colindres (13 Rodney Wallace 81), 10 Bryan Ruiz, 12 Joel Campbell, 16 Cristian Gamboa (4 Ian Smith 90+3), 19 Kendall Waston, 20 David Guzman (14 Randall Azofeifa 90+1)
Costa Rica 2 Switzerland 2
Switzerland: Dzemaili 31, Drmic 88
Costa Rica: K Waston 56, Sommer 90+3og
Switzerland crept into the last 16 despite being held to a draw by already-eliminated Costa Rica, who secured their first only and only point thanks to a stoppage-time penalty.
Costa Rica were the better team for large chunks of the game and should have taken the lead in the first half but Yann Sommer made an excellent save to deny Daniel Colindres.
The Swiss were below their best and conceded an equaliser from a corner only for substitute Josip Drmic, who had earlier struck the crossbar, to put them ahead with minutes remaining. They looked to have clung on for a victory when a VAR review ruled against a Costa Rica penalty, but the Central Americans were awarded a spot-kick in stoppage time. Captain Bryan Ruiz equalised via the back of keeper Sommer.
Matter of fact
Costa Rica’s goals ensured that all 32 teams scored in the group stage.
Yann Sommer was credited with an own goal for Costa Rica’s second equaliser but he had kept Switzerland in the game with some excellent saves in the first half.
Possession (%): 60/40
Goal attempts: 12/14
Attempts on target: 5/6
Pass accuracy (%): 87/82
Distance covered (km): 103/103
Switzerland vs Serbia (22nd June) Match Report
Switzerland Starting XI: 1 Yann Sommer, 2 Stefan Lichtsteiner, 5 Manuel Akanji, 9 Haris Seferovic (18 Mario Gavranovic), 10 Granit Xhaka, 11 Valon Behrami, 13 Ricardo Rodriguez, 14 Steven Zuber (19 Josip Drmic 90+3), 15 Blerim Dzemaili (7 Breel Embolo 73), 22 Fabian Schar, 23 Xherden Shaqiri
Serbia Starting XI: 1 Vladimir Stojkovic, 3 Dusko Tosic, 4 Luka Milivojevic (18 Nemanja Radonjic 81), 6 Branislav Ivanovic, 9 Aleksandar Mitrovic, 10 Dusan Tadic, 11 Aleksandar Kolarov, 15 Nikola Milenkovic, 17 Filip Kostic (22 Adem Llajic 64), 20 Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, 21 Nemanja Matic
Serbia 1 Switzerland 2
Serbia: Mitrovic 5
Switzerland: Xhaka 51, Shakiri 90
Xherden Shaqiri inspired Switzerland to a dramatic recovery and victory in an enthralling all-European encounter. Serbia took an early lead through Aleksandar Mitrovic and were the better, more balanced side in the first half. But the Swiss played their way back into the game when Granit Xhaka equalised with an unstoppable shot early in the second half. Serbia were aggrieved that VAR was not used when Mitrovic was wrestled back by two Swiss defenders but they continued to press for a winner. A midfielder, Luka Milivojevic, was replaced an attacker, Nemanja Radonjic, but Serbia were caught on the break by the outstanding Shaqiri.
Grant Xhaka made the sign of an Albanian eagle as he celebrated his goal – a reference to Serbia’s role in the Yugoslav civil war, when his Kosovan father was imprisoned by the Serbs.
Possession (%): 42/58
Goal attempts: 12/20
Attempts on target: 7/8
Pass accuracy (%): 77/87
Distance covered (km): 116/112
Switzerland vs Brazil – (17th June) Match Report
Switzerland face their toughest group opponents first thing, Brazil. Match preview here
Switzerland Starting XI: 1 Yann Sommer, 2 Stefan Lichtsteiner (6 Michael Lang 87), 5 Manuel Akanji, 9 Haris Seferovic (7 Breel Embolo 80), 10 Granit Xhaka, 11 Valon Behrami (17 Denis Zakaria 70), 13 Ricardo Rodriguez, 14 Steven Zuber, 15 Blerim Dzemaili, 22 Fabian Schar, 23 Xherden Shaqiri
Brazil Starting XI: 1 Alisson, 2 Thiaso Silva, 3 Miranda, 5 Casemiro (17 Fernandinho 60), 9 Gabriel Jesus (20 Roberto Firmino 79), 10 Neymar, 11 Philippe Coutinho, 12 Marcelo, 14 Danilo, 15 Paulinho (8 Renato Augusto 67), 19 Willian
Brazil 1 Switzerland 1
Brazil: Coutinho 35
Switzerland: Zuber 50
Brazil were frustrated and held to a draw by Switzerland in their opening game after Steven Zuber’s controversial header cancelled out Philippe Coutinho’s spectacular goal.
The pre-tournament favourites took a deserved lead but their play dropped off after scoring the opener and they could not raise their game when Switzerland equalised with Steven Zuber’s header early in the second half.
Neymar, who was heavily fouled throughout, was one of a number of Brazilians who had late chances to grab the winner, but Switzerland, who had no shots on goal after their equaliser, held out.
Matter of fact
Valon Behrami became the first Swiss player to appear at four World Cups.
Granit Xhaka and Haris Seferovic were part of the Swiss side that beat a Brazil team containing Alisson, Neymar, Coutinho, Casemiro at the 2009 Under-17 World Cup.
The Brazilian federation launched a formal complaint to FIFA about the refereeing, claiming that Switzerland’s equaliser should have been ruled out after a push by Zuber on Miranda just before he jumped to head the ball home, but VAR ruled that the goal stood.
Goal attempts: 20/6
Attempts on target: 9/4
Pass accuracy: 88/83
Distance covered: 103/108
Switzerland World Cup 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.
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 then smashed Panama 6-0 four days later. They then salvaged a draw against Spain and finally they beat Japan 2-0.
- 23rd March – Greece (won 1-0)
- 27th March – Panama (won 6-0)
- 3rd June – Spain (drew 1-1)
- 8th June – Japan (won 2-0)
Switzerland 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.
Switzerland World Cup Squad
Final 23-man squad –
GOALKEEPERS: Roman Buerki (Borussia Dortmund), Yvon Mvogo (Leipzig), Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach).
DEFENDERS: Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund), Johan Djourou (Antalyaspor), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Lang (Basel), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Jacques-Francois Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodriguez (Milan), Fabian Schaer (Deportivo La Coruna).
MIDFIELDERS: Valon Behrami (Udinese), Blerim Dzemaili (Bologna), Gelson Fernandes (Eintracht Frankfurt), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Steven Zuber (1899 Hoffenheim), Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach).
FORWARDS: Josip Drmic (Borussia Monchengladbach), Breel Embolo (Schalke), Mario Gavranovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Haris Seferovic (Benfica).
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.
At World Soccer we will update you with all the news related to the World Cup on our website. Make sure you know about the Qualified Teams, Groups, Friendlies, Dates, Fixtures, Stadiums and TV Schedule by clicking on the highlighted links.
Don’t forget to follow World Soccer on Facebook, and Twitter.