switzerland_team

The country that provides the headquarters for both FIFA and UEFA have never made it past the group stages. This time they are looking to make it one better after gaining a reputation as a serious football nation since the 90s. A solid back line once saw them boast one of the cleanest defensive records in world football. With the help of their more creative player spathere is definitely the potential for them to progress to the knockouts at Euro 2016.

How They Qualified: The Swiss qualified for the tournament after a 2nd place finish in qualifying Group E behind England. Doubts over the side grew after a shaky start in qualification but a hot streak of five wins in succession secured their qualification, a 7-0 win at home in St Gallen to whipping boys San Marino ensured a safe progression.

Tournament History: Group Stages 1996, 2004, 2008.

Nickname: Schweizer Nati/Nati Suisse (Swiss national team)

Coach: Vladimir Petkovic.

The Bosnian coach has been in managing roles since the late 90s, most famously with Young Boys Bern between 2008 and 2011. He earned himself a spell with Lazio while he was working for The Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno. His ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. He replaced Ottmar Hitzfeld to be appointed Switzerland coach after the 2014 World Cup.

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Key Man: Xherdan Shaqiri (above).

The former Bayern Munich man has given us glimpses of what Bavaria were missing for a rejuvenated Stoke City under Mark Hughes this season. The stocky forward gave a handful of world class performances during the World Cup in Brazil as well where he grabbed himself a classy hat-trick against Honduras and was named man of the match against Ecuador.

One To Watch: Breeel Embolo.

A coveted young player who will no doubt be swept away from Basel if the striker impresses when he is given a chance in the starting 11 for the national team. Manchester United reportedly scouted the Cameroonian born forward before opting for Anthony Martial. Wolfsburg reportedly had a €27 million bid rejected in January 2016. He already has a taste of the Champions League and can boast 20 goals to 56 career appearances with FC Basel.

Fixtures:

June 11, 9 a.m. vs. Albania

June 15, 12 p.m. vs. Romania

June 19, 3 p.m. vs. France

Squad: 

Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Roman Buerki (Borussia Dortmund), Marwin Hitz (Augsburg).

Defenders: Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Michael Lang (Basel), Johan Djourou (Hamburger SV), Steve von Bergen (Young Boys), Fabian Schaer (Hoffenheim), Francois Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg).

Midfielders: Valon Behrami (Watford), Blerim Dzemaili (Genoa), Gelson Fernandes (Rennes), Fabian Frei (Mainz), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke), Denis Zakaria (Young Boys).

Forwards: Breel Embolo (Basel), Haris Seferovic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Admir Mehmedi (Bayer Leverkusen), Eren Derdiyok (Kasimpasa), Shani Tarashaj (Everton).