The team: Switzerland did what was expected of them during the qualification campaign, advancing undefeated from what was undeniably a weak group. Despite dropping points to Norway and Iceland, they were relatively untroubled. After such a cruise through qualifying, coupled with a surprisingly lofty FIFA ranking of eight, expectations of a good tournament are high for the Swiss. And with an experienced coach, a sprinkling of quality players, and a fairly easy group to navigate, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Switzerland travel quite far into the tournament.
The coach: Ottmar Hitzfeld
Experienced German coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has enjoyed great success in both his homeland and Switzerland. He has won major titles in both countries, including the Bundesliga with both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. He has been in charge of Switzerland since 2008, but has announced he will retire after the FIFA World Cup.
Key player: Xherdan Shaqiri
The speedy midfielder has been used sparingly by Bayern Munich this season, but his influence is felt strongly by Switzerland. He has the ability to cause trouble for any opponent, especially during counter attacks, and will be vital if the Swiss are to have a strong tournament.
World ranking: 8
World Cup appearances: 9
Previous best: Quarter-finals in 1934, 1938 and 1954
Qualification: Winner of group
Form (qualifiers): WWDWDWDWWW
Fixtures: June 15 vs. Ecuador; June 20 vs. France; June 26 vs. Honduras