By Efosa Taiwo
Switzerland are no strangers to the World Cup having appeared at this stage a record eleven times and advanced past the group stage seven times.
Although they cannot be put in the league of the favourites, but when it comes to being a banana peel to the ‘big boys’, you can count on them.
As a team, they work well together and have plenty of experience playing with one another, too.
Not to mention, most of the Switzerland players are right at the end of their peak years, and this could be the last solid chance to make a deep run with this set of players in the World Cup until the new generation cycles through.
Drawn in Group G along with heavyweights Brazil, Serbia and Cameroon, they look the more likely, on the strength of their experience, to advance to the group stage along with Brazil who are being tipped to finish as winners.
Players to watch out for
Borrussia Moenchengladbach, Goalkeeper
Sommer is one of the few goalkeepers going to the World Cup in Qatar that can be pinpointed as a star in his team. On his day, the Gladbach goalkeeper is almost impossible to beat. He has kept 30 clean sheets in 76 caps and will now hope to add to such impressive record in his debut world cup for Switzerland.
Xhaka has been a mainstay in this Switzerland team for a decade now and is often the key player that makes this midfield and conservative approach to play without the ball work. He’s played in a more advanced role for Arsenal this season and packed more of a goal-scoring punch because of it. But for Switzerland, Xhaka is much more of a pace-setter and will play, as he has been playing, an instrumental role for the Swiss team in Qatar.
Chicago Fire, Midfielder
Unarguably Switzerland’s talisman. After a flourshing career in Europe, the winger is enjoying life over in Major League Soccer with Chicago Fire and will be hoping to add to his 26 goals for his country when proceedings begin in Qatar..
After taking over from Vladmir Petkovic, Murat Yakin has brought more stability and lethality to the La Nata.
The Turkish-born manager has been able to build a team which has the right mix of young and experienced players.
Before taking over from Petkovic in 2021, Yakin have managed several top-notch clubs, including FC Basel and Spartak Moscow.