Perenna dark horses Switzerland head into the World Cup feeling good after an unbeaten qualifying campaign saw them reach Qatar ahead of European champions Italy.
This will be the Swiss team’s 12th World Cup appearance and their eighth attempt to match 1954’s best-ever finish in the quarter-finals.
Despite their less-than-convincing record in World Cup tournaments, Switzerland remains one of the countries most rival fans are keen to avoid and that feeling has only grown since their qualification.
Here’s what you need to know about Switzerland at the World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Gregor Kobel (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Kohn (RB Salzburg), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier), Yann Sommer (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Manchester City), Eray Comert (Valencia), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Fabian Schar (Newcastle United), Silvan Widmer (Mainz)
Midfielders: Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz), Fabian Frei (Basel), Remo Freuler (Nottingham Forest), Ardon Jashari (Lucerne), Fabian Rieder (Young Boys), Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire) Renato Steffen (Lugano ) ), Denis Zakaria (Chelsea), Michel Aebischer (Bologna)
Forwards: Breel Embolo (Monaco), Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys), Noah Okafor (RB Salzburg), Haris Seferovic (Galatasaray), Ruben Vargas (Augsburg)
Regular backup goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo picked up a knee injury during Lorient’s defeat to PSG on 6 November which unfortunately cost him a place in the squad.
In front of him are major doubts about the iconic Yann Sommer. The Gladbach goalkeeper tore his ankles in October and hasn’t played a competitive minute since, but made the squad. However, the inclusion of four stoppers in the 26-man squad may tell you all you need to know about his likely involvement.
Xhaka is in sensational form / Eric Alonso/GettyImages
The World Cup comes at an ideal time for midfielder Granit Xhaka, who is in the form of his life. Having starred for Arsenal so far this season, all eyes will be on the 30-year-old, who has 106 caps.
Another enjoying life in the Premier League, Manuel Akanji has impressed since his summer switch from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City. The centre-back has been to two major tournaments with his country and played every minute of each.
Xherdan Shaqiri remains Switzerland’s talisman. The winger is enjoying life in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire and will be hoping to add to his 26 goals for his country.
Strikers from all over the world will be praying that Sommer does not recover in time as the Gladbach goalkeeper is one of the best in the world on his day. He has 30 clean sheets in 76 caps but is still waiting for his first World Cup cap.
Murat Yakin’s preferred setup has been a 4-2-3-1 formation, although you won’t be surprised to see it switch to a 4-3-3 in tougher matches.
Switzerland Predicted XI: Summer; Widmer, Schar, Akanji, Rodriguez; Freuler, Genealogy; Shaqiri, Sow, Vargas; The penis
As mentioned earlier, Switzerland were on top form after going unbeaten in qualifying, although they have failed to maintain that form.
2022 has produced mixed results, including failing to win either of their two friendlies and splitting their six Nations League matches evenly between wins and losses.
They lost their first three Nations League matches but won their last three, seeing off significant foes of the tournament’s caliber in Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic.
Switzerland last five results (all competitions)
Portugal 4-0 Switzerland
Switzerland 0-1 Spain
Switzerland 1-0 Portugal
Spain 1-2 Switzerland
Switzerland 2-1 Czech Republic
Drawn in Group G alongside pre-tournament favorites Brazil, Switzerland can expect to find themselves in a shoot-out with Serbia and Cameroon for the second qualifying spot.
Finishing second, which they are more than capable of doing, would see Switzerland drawn against the winner of Group H, which is likely to be either Portugal or Uruguay. No matter who they face, that matchup is hard to predict.
On paper, however, Switzerland does not appear to have the firepower needed to progress further in the competition.
Forecast: Latest 16
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