WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Switzerland

WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Switzerland

COACH– Ottmar Hitzfeld
BEST SHOWING – Quarter Finals 1934, 1938, 1954
QUALIFICATION – Winner of UEFA Qualifying Group E
TOURNAMENT ODDS – 125/1 (SkyBet, PaddyPower, BetVictor)
FIXTURES
June 15th – Ecuador (1700 BST, Brasilia, ITV)
June 20th – France (2000 BST, Salvador, ITV)
June 25th – Honduras (2100 BST, Manaus, BBC)

Button France Button Ecuador Button Honduras

 

It wasn’t that big of a shock to see Switzerland comfortably win their group with opponents like Iceland, Slovenia, Norway, Albania and Cyprus. But the Swiss added a new edge to their play and with Steve von Bergen being the oldest member of the squad at 30, Hitzfeld has moved from the old legs employed in South Africa 2010 to a new youthful look.

The Swiss perception was a bland team that no-one really noticed, who occasionally threatened from set pieces. But Hitzfeld has a few new offensive weapons to work with and although I wouldn’t say they’ll swarm opponents to death, they’ll be more fun to watch this time around.

Hitzfeld will adapt his tactics to the opposition but I’d still expect a 4-5-1 or a 4-2-3-1 formation. Wolfsburg’s Diego Benaglio is the likely keeper and he’ll have a clubmate in his back four with teenager Ricardo Rodriguez the probable left-back, Rodriguez having dislodged Reto Ziegler from the slot.

Stephan Lichtsteiner is the other full back with former Arsenal pair Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos the possible centre back pairing.

The Swiss midfield looks solid and they have a few handy players to call on. Gelson Fernandes is the man Hitzfeld will look to to protect the back four and captain Gokhan Inler will partner him.

The Swiss have options for their attacking trio with Valon Behrami, Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka all battling for places behind Josip Drmic.

 

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ONE TO WATCH

05 WORLD CUP Josip DrmicSome players use the World Cup as a way to put themselves in the shop window, but Drmic has already gone – leaving relegated Bundesliga club Nurnberg for a shot at the Champions League with Bayer Leverkusen.

He had just one season in Nurnberg after an impressive time at FC Zurich but he did his best to help them avoid relegation, his 17 goals being nearly half of the club’s tally.

Capable of playing on the right hand side of midfield as well, Drmic is likely to play the lone striker role. The Swiss have long lacked a striker who can nab them goals on a regular basis, if Drmic can be that man the Swiss perception of making up the numbers could fall by the wayside.

HERE COMES D-JUDGE
D-Judge

It’s a different Swiss side to the one who beat Spain in South Africa 2010 but it’s a better one. They now have a bit of flair about them and players who on their day can cause better sides problems.

They have a coach who’s been there and done that in Hitzfeld and they’re a team who make the most of what they have, no superstars but a very good team. Hitzfeld will have planned meticulously for every scenario and his men will be prepared for the challenges that await.

What they don’t have compared to previous Swiss teams is defensive solidity. They conceded a fair few goals in qualifying but if the likes of Shaqiri, Inler, Xhaka and Drmic can fire it won’t be as much of an issue as it would have been in the past.

The aim for the Swiss is the last eight, winning the group is key to that.

 

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VERDICT

Come second and with Argentina being the likely opposition you can’t see the Swiss advancing, win the group however and the last eight is a distinct possibility.

world cup Brasil emblem 01

Danny (D-Good)
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83


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