Under the guidance of German legend Ottmar Hitzfeld – Switzerland have become one of the dark horses of football. With Shaqiri, Stocker, Lichsteiner and Inler (To name but a few) they have a lot of quality, and came through quals with ease. Here is our preview:
GK’s: Diego Benaglio, Roman Buerki, Yann Sommer
DF’s: Johann Djourou, Michael Lang, Stephan Lichsteiner, Ricardo Rodriguez, Fabian Schar, Philipe Senderos, Steve Von Bergen, Reto Ziegler
MF’s: Gokhan Inler, Xherdan Shaqiri, Valentin Stocker, Blerim Dzemaili, Tranquillo Barnetta, Gelson Fernandes, Valon Behrami,
FW’s: Josip Drmic, Mario Gavranovic, Admir Mehmedi, Haris Seferovic, Granit Xhaka.
Coach: Ottmar Hitzfeld
It went well, and they won the group with over 20 points, but in all honesty there was not much competition. Iceland were 7 points behind them, Slovenia 9. Their group was not the hardest, probably one of the easiest, so it is no surprise they are going to Brazil. Got the job done though, 7 wins and 3 draws left them unbeaten!
Ones to Watch:
Xherdan Shaqiri – This lad has lit up the stage over the past two tournaments, earning him a lot of praise from all corners of the globe, it even earned him a move to Bayern Munich. Definitely one to watch, can often be greedy but also a match winner!
Josip Drmic – At Nuremburg this season he has been a great scorer, one of the top scorers in the Bundesliga. He has found himself as first choice under Hitzfeld, fitting his style perfectly. Facing Ecuador and Honduras, he could bag himself at least a couple of goals.
Valon Behrami – The ex-West Ham man has found himself as something of a linchpin in this Swiss side, a regular top performer at Napoli too. You would think if you aren’t good enough for West Ham you have had it, but in truth he did not fit Sam Allardyce’ style, so left. A key man in their midfield three.
(4-2-3-1/4-3-3): Benaglio, Lichsteiner, Djourou, Von Bergen, Rodriguez, Inler, Behrami, Xhaka, Stocker, Shaqiri, Drmic.
A strong lineup – Stocker and Shaqiri either side of Drmic is a dangerous front three, and with Xhaka, Inler and Behrami behind them, it’s a solid team. Defensively they are weaker, Senderos isn’t the best of backups, and Djourou is young and still prone to mistakes. Von Bergen can have off days, but at the World Cup you will be punished. Lichsteiner is very offensive minded, and plays as more of a wing back for Juventus, or sometimes Right Midfield. He will have to reign in his attacking instincts as the Swiss weakness is that they often play quite narrow, meaning Stephan will be isolated at times.
Coach – Ottmar Hitzfeld
Not a lot of good value over evens, as is to be expected, but here are a few odds that are around:
Win – 100/1
Group Winner – 9/4
To Qualify – 4/7
Stage of Elimination – Quarters: 4/1
Over 4.5 Points – Evens
Like Colombia, Belgium and Bosnia – Switzerland are a very handy outfit, and have beaten a few giants in recent years. They should qualify, and if given a decent draw should reach the Quarters. It may be a long shot, but our Top Tip is Stage of Elimination: Quarter Finals at 4/1 – If you want something smaller and less risky, then To Qualify at 4/7 is excellent value! They have a team capable of beating anyone, even 100/1 is a great price to win the competition!