World Ranking: 26th
Best World Cup finish: Quarterfinal appearance 1934
Coach: Ottmar Hitzfeld
Projected Starting Eleven: (GK) Diego Benaglio – (D) Stephan Lichtsteiner, Philippe Senderos, Stephane Grichting, Ludovic Magnin – (M) Tranquillo Barnetta, Gokhan Inler, Valon Behrami, Gelson Fernandes – (F) Alexander Frei, Blaise Nkufo
Alexander Frei- Frei is the country’s all-time scoring leader and the captain of the team, so obviously he is a player to keep a close eye on. He only recently returned from a broken arm injury in May so there may be a rust effect that he will need to shake off, but he will be the Swiss’s most important player.
Blaise Nkufo– Born in the jungles of the Congo, Nkufo shows promise of becoming a reliable goal scorer as he tied Frei for team lead in goals during the qualifying games with five.
Tranquillo Barnetta– Tabbed as the ‘Ronaldo’ of the Swiss team, Barnetta has the flair to be the most noticeable player on the field who can create space with his gigantic strides and ability to shoot on the fly. At only 24-years old, Barnetta has a bright future for the national team.
The Swiss teams biggest strength is that they are not expected to do well, thus leaving the door wide open to shock the world. Now whether or not they are able to do that is another story, but with well-known tactician Ottmar Hitzfeld running the show for Switzerland and their harmonious team unity with one goal of playing the best they can win or lose, the Swiss squad can turn many heads this tournament.
Well, they are team Switzerland and don’t really have a strong roster, so that basically narrows down the weaknesses. But in all seriousness, the Swiss lack a true game-breaking player who the team can turn to during an important part of the match. Their captain and top player Alexander Frei was hurt earlier this season with a broken arm and only just started playing in May, so he may be a little rusty. Not to mention Switzerland has been known to drop games against teams they should beat, just like they did in the qualifying round of the World Cup by losing to Israel, Luxembourg, and Latvia.
Honestly, don’t expect much from the Swiss team, but they did end up at the top of their group in 2006, which featured eventual runners-up France. But after a unacceptable qualifying round and a tough group that features heavy favorite Spain and the competitive Chile, putting money on the Swiss to go far this year would be the equivalent of lighting your money on fire. But the team may shock some and since there is no pressure to be successful in the tournament, this team will look to just go out and enjoy the experience, and sometimes, that’s all a team needs in order to be successful.