The Swiss made it into the final 16 at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but they fared poorly in the 2008 European championships. In the qualifiers for South Africa, they started out poorly but finished strong to secure their bid.
Team: Schweizer Nati
Colors: Red and white
Switzerland got to the top of their qualifying group despite an early embarrassing loss to tiny Luxembourg. The team’s younger players are talented but inexperienced in international competition—meaning the Schweizer Nati (Swiss national team) must learn on the fly.
The team can hit dry spells when it comes to scoring goals. However, Schweizer Nati’s precise style of passing and talent for never getting outnumbered in the defensive zone can open up quick attacks on goal.
Key Players: Diego Benaglio, Tranquillo Barnetta and Eren Derdiyok
To keep games close and within reach, Switzerland will rely on Benaglio, the ’09 Swiss Player of the Year. He’ll man the net, attempting to keep the best strikers in the world (Fernando Torres and David Villa) from tossing up hat tricks.
Forward Derdiyok and midfielder Barnetta pose a double threat on offense. Teammates for club team Bayer Leverkusen, they are adept at finding each other in the open field. At 6’3”, Derdiyok likes to play in the air. Barnetta has great skill with the ball, and his precise crosses can damage opponents inside the box.
Key Matchup: Switzerland vs. Chile
If the Swiss want to make it through the group, they’ll have to go through Chile, a team fighting for second place. This could be the only close game in the group. Hopefully the refs will be wearing their Swatches so they can track this 90-minute match.
The Swiss have the ability to make it out of the group, but lack of goal scoring will be a problem. They’ll have to find comfort in chocolate after their first round exit.
Related link: World Cup 2010 Countdown