Route to Russia:
Despite winning nine of their ten qualification matches, Switzerland finished as runners-up in Group B, second to Portugal on goal difference. In order to secure their place at the 2018 World Cup, they had to overcome Republic of Ireland in the play-off round and did so defeating the Boys in Green 1-0 on aggregate, courtesy of a penalty from Ricardo Rodriguez.
How far can they get:
At the 2014 World Cup, Switzerland reached the round of 16, losing 1-0 to Argentina after extra time. At this year’s World Cup, they will be aiming to go one better by reaching the quarter final.
Vladimir Petrokovic. Since his appointment as Switzerland manager in 2014 the 54-year-old has won 62.5% of his matches, the highest of any Switzerland manager since the turn of the century. Prior to his appointment as Switzerland head coach, Petrokovic managed Swiss sides Sion, Young Boys, Bellinzona, Lugano and Malcantone Agno. Although he has extensive managerial experience in Switzerland, his only major honour comes from his time at Lazio, where he won the Coppa Italia in the 2012/13 campaign.
One to Watch:
Switzerland have several quality players amongst their ranks including Stephan Lichtsteiner, Breel Embolo and Granit Xhaka. However, Xherdan Shaqiri is our one to watch at this year’s tournament. On his day, the 26-year-old can cause even the best of defences problems with his quick feet and trickery. The Stoke City winger has the ability to score outrageous goals, but his attitude can be his downside. It is important that he gets off to a good start in Russia to ensure that we see the best of the him.