Team Profile: Switzerland
Switzerland is a small country who have battled hard to be a guest at the Word Cup event. Only eight times have they been to a World Cup but that`s hardly surprising.
Colours: Red shirts, white shorts and red socks.
Nickname: Nati (short for National team).
Previous World Cup appearances: (8) 1934, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1994, 2006
Best World Cup performance: Quarter-finalists in 1934, 1938, 1954
Coach: Ottmar Hitzfeld
Most capped player: Heinz Hermann 117 caps
Top scorer: Alexander Frei 40 goals
FIFA Ranking (Apr 10) : 26
Switzerland is a small country who have battled hard to be a guest at the Word Cup event. Only eight times have they been to a World Cup but that`s hardly surprising. The best results were in the years 1934, 1938 and 1954, but that’s certainly a long time ago. In the year 2009, Switzerland won the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria, so they have reason to believe in a glorious future.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Switzerland were, with Greece and Israel, one of the main-favourites in Group 2, but it wasn’t an easy job. They have had a lot of problems on the way to South Africa. At the first match they took one point from Israel and later Luxembourg disgraced Switzerland at home with a 2-1 triumph. It was time to change something and the team of Ottmar Hitzfeld reacted well by defeating Greece in Piraeus, gaining top spot in the group in the process. In the last match Switzerland needed only one point to qualify and they achieved that to earn a place at South Africa 2010.
Fighting spirit. They have players like Barnetta, Frei, Senderos and Benaglio, who all have big European experience. The collective in the team is very important and that’s the key for good results. In every match, it doesn’t matter if it`s friendly or at the World Cup - the team will fight to the end.
To lose against countries without superstars is not really anything new. Finland (ranked 54), Norway (ranked 31) and not to mention Luxembourg (ranked 128) can beat Switzerland or atleast cause them problems. Concentration levels for the whole 90 minutes will become very important, so they can be stronger and better with more self-assurance.
Ottmar Hitzfeld - a big name in the football business. One of the more pleasant coaches in the world with a very special character. With Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, he won plenty. Two times Champions League winner (1997 with Dortmund and 2001 with Bayern Munich), seven times Bundesliga winner (1995 and 1996 with Dortmund and 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2008 with Bayern). Switzerland can be happy to have a coach with the pedigree of Hitzfeld.
Alexander Frei (FC Basel): The captain and top scorer of the team. A player who wants to win every match and is never content. He always believes in better play and so he will motivate the team for better results. With a good instinct in front of goal, he can be very dangerous for everyone.
Diego Benaglio (VFL Wolfsburg): A young goalkeeper who earned the No.1 in the team. With Wolfsburg he’s a Bundesliga champion and he now has European experience having played in the Champions League. Eight goals conceded in qualifying meant he was statistically the best stopper in Group Two.
Tranquillo Barnetta (Bayer Leverkusen): The Ronaldo of the Swiss team. He can create chances and free up space with his movement. With three words you can describe Barnetta - pace, speed and fair. At just 24 years of age he will have a glorious future and it would not be a surprise if he moved to a European superpower in the future.
BEST FOOTBALLING MOMENT
The biggest football moment in Swiss history was the World Cup victory for the U-17 team in Nigeria earlier this year. Switzerland won the competition beating favourites such as Brazil, Italy, Germany and Nigeria along the way.
OFF THE PITCH
With big cow bells and beer, Switzerland is ready for a crazy party in South Africa.
WORLD CUP OBJECTIVE
A horror group or dream group - it doesn`t matter for the Swiss. The nation needs to take its chance to show the world what they are capable of. After the triumph of the U-17`s, anything is possible in South Africa.