2008 Switzerland Euro Soccer Preview
by Doc's Sports - 04/17/2008
Looking to improve on its advancement into the elimination round of the 2006 World Cup, Switzerland knows Euro 2008 is the perfect platform to establish itself on one of European football's largest stages. And if they learned anything else from their time in Germany two summers ago, the host country has a raw opportunity to excite its home supporters and generate some success. Germany did well in the 2006 World Cup with its third place finish. While the Swiss co-host Euro 2008 with neighboring country Austria, it's known far and wide that the 'Nati' are the stronger nation with a legit chance for good play this June.
However, playing on familiar soil won't be all it takes for Switzerland, that's for sure. Put together with the Czech Republic, Portugal and Turkey, Group A is no easy task. The newly released April FIFA World Rankings have the Czech Republic No. 6 and the Portuguese No. 9. Turkey, meanwhile, finished a strong 7-3-2 in qualifying to advance to this year's tournament. The Swiss certainly won't be the favorite to find a spot in the elimination round, but it will be a nice story to follow them in hopes of seeing another home-supported nation find a joyous opportunity in the European Championships.
Golden Player Watch - Tranquillo Barnetta, M
The midfield is a surefire strength for the Swiss with stability behind the likes of Hakan Yakin, Daniel Gygax and David Degen, but for Switzerland to find any great deal of success, then 22-year old Tranquillo Barnetta must let his playmaking presence be known.
Barnetta showed a bit of his potential back in the 2006 World Cup with a goal and an assist in four games, and since then he has begun to establish himself as a true leader on his national side, striking for two goals in as many games during international friendly play last year. Playing in the German Bundesliga, he has seen his fair share of strong opposition, but his level of play must be raised that much more to create realistic hope for advancement this summer.
Reason Why They Will Advance to Elimination Round
The Swiss definitely have a chance to move past group play in Euro 2008. Czech Republic, one of the strong favorites, were dealt a blow with one of its top players, Tomas Rosicky, being ruled out for the rest of his domestic season and possibly will struggle to be fit for this summer's event. Switzerland will, of course, need three points from one of its games vs. Czech or Portugal, but that's not entirely out of the question.
Group Play Schedule
Switzerland vs. Czech Republic - June 6
Switzerland vs. Turkey - June 11
Switzerland vs. Portugal - June 15