Round of 16, Round of 16, Round of 16, three frustrating tournaments for Switzerland who always seem unable to fulfil their potential. If you also consider Poland and Sweden were the last two countries to knock Switzerland out of the most recent international tournaments as oppose to some of the more traditional European heavyweights, many feel it is about time Switzerland live up to the billing.
Lets take a look at the Swiss squad and who are the potential key players and match winners in this side.
Xherdan Shaqiri– Probably the most well-known player in this Swiss side, Shaqiri in my opinion, on his day walks into many teams in England and should consider himself extremely unlucky to find himself in reserve to one of the best attacks in Europe. In Switzerland’s 3-4-1-2 formation, Shaqiri has a free role to roam and create behind the two strikers and his performances will be key to the Swiss meeting their objectives in these Euros.
Granit Xhaka– A marmite player to say the least, but having played 92 matches for Switzerland and being their current captain you can be sure to know his ball retention ability and leadership qualities will be vital for ‘La Nati’s’ chances in these championships.
Manuel Akanji– A rock in the Swiss back three, he will be keen to impress after being one of the many players who was publicly criticised for Borussia Dortmund failing to challenge Bayern during the most recent two seasons, being labelled one of the weak links.
This will be Bosnian Vladimir Petkovic’s third international tournament with Switzerland and he is concerned with lack of match fitness over many key players such as Fabian Schar due to a long term injury and Xherdan Shaqiri, Steven Zubar and Ruben Vargas due to lack of minutes for their respective clubs this term. The full squad list is below:
Switzerland Euro 2020 squad
Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Yvon Mvogo (PSV), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier)
Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund), Loris Benito (Bordeaux), Nico Elvedi (Monchengladbach), Kevin Mbabu (Wolfsburg), Becir Omeragic (Zurich), Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Silvan Widmer (Basel), Fabian Schar (Newcastle United), Jordan Lotomba (Nice), Eray Comert (Basel)
Midfielders: Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Denis Zakaria (Monchengladbach), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Djibril Sow (Frankfurt), Admir Mehmedi (Wolfsburg), Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool), Ruben Vargas (Augsburg), Steven Zuber (Frankfurt), Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz), Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys)
Forwards: Breel Embolo (Monchengladbach), Mario Gavranovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Haris Seferovic (Benfica)
Euro 2020 Group Schedule
Wales vs Switzerland, June 12 (14:00, Baku)
Italy vs Switzerland, June 16 (20:00, Rome) Switzerlandvs Turkey, June 20 (17:00, Baku)
My prediction for Switzerland
‘La Nati’ have shown they are able to mix it with the big boys, where, in the most recent Nations League performance showing they managed to avoid defeat in both games against Germany as well as earning a home draw with Spain. However, worryingly against Ukraine the other nation in their group, they lost one of the games and they were only awarded the other win due to covid enforced reasons. This could be better explained due to Switzerland’s counter-attacking game and as a result finding it easier to play stronger outfits, who will attempt to control the game and as a result, potentially be at risk to be hit on the break.
All of that being considered the Wales opening game seems to be a game they simply can’t lose, and despite the Swiss’s struggles against lower-ranked European nations in recent times, I expect their experience in these tournaments to navigate themselves out of Group A in second place behind Italy.
Second place in Group A will meet Second place in Group B which I expect to be Denmark or Russia, either of which i expect Switzerland to manoeuvre their way past and finally reach a quarter-final of an international competition for the first time since 1954, however in the quarter-finals they are likely to meet one of Holland, Germany, Portugal or France and I expect any of those nations to be a step too far for the Swiss, however, if they do manage to reach the final 8, that would be a very good return for Switzerland.
If you enjoyed this article, check out my Twitter for much more @jacob_baum_
Main Image Credits- Embed from Getty Images