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Nickname: Schweizer Nati
Number of World Cup appearances: 8
Best World Cup finish: Quarterfinals (1934, 1938, 1954)
The Swiss found success in Germany during the World Cup in 2006, advancing to the second round. However, their exit wasn’t as conventional as most teams experienced. Get this: Switzerland didn’t allow a single goal in four games during their run. They did, though, fall victim to their inefficiencies on offense. The Swiss drew in their opener with France and pitched 2-0 shutouts in each of their last two group play matches. Unfortunately, they were bounced by the Ukraine on penalties after a scoreless game leading up to the shootout.
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If they are going to bring more of a scoring focus to this year’s tournament, the Bayern Leverkusen (Germany domestic club) combination of Tranquillo Barnetta and Eren Derdiyok are going to have to provide their finishers with a bevy of good balls and put them in more favorable opportunities.
Another advantage the Swiss can call upon is the exceptional coaching by head man Ottmar Hitzfeld. He is one of only two men to win the UEFA Champions League with two different clubs. He also has had tremendous success as a coach throughout Germany and will no doubt bring his wonderful football mind to South Africa and guide his squad in the right direction.
2010 Switzerland World Cup Odds
Switzerland is currently listed at 200/1 to win the World Cup.
They are 9/1 to win Group H
Key Player To Watch
Alexander Frei is the ace in the hole for Switzerland. He led his country with five strikes throughout the qualifying process and also scored two of the team’s four goals during the 2006 World Cup. He is the all-time record goalscorer for the Swiss and is great at putting himself in finishing positions atop the formation. Granted, he isn’t the biggest of strikers at only 5-foot-10, but this proven weapon needs only a half-chance to find the back of the net.
Best Team Asset
No one will mistake Switzerland for a world football power, but they did gain a good deal of confidence by winning their qualifying group, beating out Greece in the process. So while they won’t be favored in too many matches, you can always count on a solid, methodical effort from this team. They are experienced and are calm in the key moments. Switzerland will never be overwhelmed with the big stage and do well to keep their wits about them.
Key Team Weakness
As mentioned above, the Swiss don’t overwhelm you offensively. While they do have some very skilled pieces with Frei and Barnetta, Group H as a whole probably puts them near the bottom in terms of capabilities to push forward and be a true scoring threat on a consistent basis. The biggest question regarding this is whether they will change style to play with a team like Spain and Chile or maintain their approach and play their own game.
Switzerland World Cup Predictions
I don’t fancy Switzerland’s chances in a group that obviously greatly favors Spain and has two very solid sides in Chile and Honduras. Perhaps a third-place finish is a good estimate from face value, so replicating 2006’s knockout stage appearance is not likely.
Key First Round Match (best betting opportunity)
The Swiss, naturally, are major underdogs in their opening match against defending European champions Spain. In that matchup June 16 I think looking at the ‘over’ is worth a penny or two. The opener of the group stage is more likely to be higher scoring than the second or third, being that teams will then play with the mindset of needing a certain amount of points to advance. Spain should be able to net a couple and I wouldn’t at all be surprised with a tournament-opening treble from the favorites.
Switzerland World Cup Group Play Schedule
v. Spain, June 16, 2010 – 10 a.m. ET at Durban (Durban)
v. Chile, June 21, 2010 – 10 a.m. ET at Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth)
v. Honduras, June 25, 2010 – 2:30 p.m. at Free State (Mangaung/Bloemfontein)
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