Euro 2020: Dark horses Switzerland go in search of a best ever campaign

Switzerland will be heading into this summer’s tournament with hope of progressing past the Round of 16, a feat they have not achieved at a tournament since 1938.

They have quite a strong squad, with good goalkeepers and a solid defence but face tough group opposition in Italy, Turkey, and Wales. They have improved massively under Vladimir Petkovic in his seven years at the helm, finishing fourth in the inaugural Nations League campaign, beating Belgium 5-2 along the way. They also managed draws with Spain and Germany last autumn.

Group A: SWITZERLAND, Italy, Turkey, Wales
Manager: Vladimir Petkovic
Odds (PP): 60/1
Recent Tournaments: World Cup 2018 (Round of 16), Euro 2016 (Round of 16)
FIFA World Ranking: 13th

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Key Man

Yann Sommer. The Monchengladbach keeper has been in fine form for both club and country, and many of Switzerland’s hopes this summer will rely on his razor sharp reflexes. He is also experienced and will need to marshal his strong but relatively young defence.

The Squad

Petkovic has named a provisional 29-man squad, which will be cut down to 26 by the June 1st deadline.

Monchengladbach shot-stopper Yann Sommer spearheads a talented goalkeeping department which can afford to leave Dortmund keeper Roman Burki at home. His exclusion, along with injury to his club rival Marvin Hitz has given opportunity for Stuttgart’s Gregor Kobel, who is impressed this season and attracted interest from Europe’s top clubs. Also in the provisional squad are PSV’s Yvon Mvogo, on loan from Leipzig, and Jonas Omlin of Montpellier.

The defence is strong, they have three top centre backs in Manuel Akanji, Nico Elvedi and Fabian Schar, although Elvedi often features at right back for the National side. Left back Ricardo Rodriguez is a set piece specialist, while Wolfsburg’s Kevin Mbabu offers a more attacking alternative at right back should they need his pace.

Their solidity continues into centre midfield where not much will get past the destructive duo of Granit Xhaka and Denis Zakaria. Atalanta’s Remo Freuler also makes the squad and could start after an impressive season in Atalanta’s midfield. Frankfurt’s Djibril Sow and former hammer Edmilison Fernandes, now at Mainz, are also included and could feature.

His Frankfurt team-mate Steven Zuber also makes the squad and will likely fill the wide positions along with Xherdan Shaqiri, who despite quiet club seasons always seems to show up at tournaments for Switzerland.

Up front target man Haris Seferovic will lead the line after another prolific campaign at Benfica. Getting him firing will be pivotal to Swiss hopes this summer. Partnering him up front will be the likes of Breel Embolo, another of Monchengladbach’s Swiss stars, Wolfsburg’s Admir Mehmedi Augsburg’s Ruben Vargas, and Mario Gavranovic, who is off the back of an 18-goal season at Dinamo Zagreb.

One to Watch

Nico Elvedi. The 24-year-old Monchengladbach defender has become a mainstay in Switzerland’s defence since his debut, aged 19, in 2016. He is a solid defender whose pace has seen him line up at right and left back. He is very comfortable on the ball with a good passing range and is also an arial threat from set pieces, with five goals and two assists in all competitions this year.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Gregor Kobel (Stuttgart)
Yvon Mvogo (PSV), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier)

Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Fabian Schar (Newcastle), Silvan Widmer (FC Basel), Loris Benito (Bordeaux), Kevin Mbabu (Wolfsburg), Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Eray Comert (FC Basel), Becir Omeragic (Zurich), Jordan Lotomba (Nice)

Midfielders: Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Steven Zuber (Eintracht Frankfurt), Djibril Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt), Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool), Edmilison Fernandes (Mainz), Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys), Dan Ndoye (Nice), Andi Zeqiri (Brighton)

Forwards: Haris Seferovic (Benfica), Breel Embolo (Borussia Monchengladbach), Admir Mehmedi (Wolfsburg), Mario Gavranovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ruben Vargas (Augsburg)

The Author

Daragh Searing

Student and sports fanatic, aged 19. I availed of the extra time on my hands during the pandemic to get into sportswriting, something I've always had strong interest in. Man United fan but also a keen follower of Serie A & European football. Hoping to pursue a career in sportswriting, with Soccer and Rugby my areas of expertise. email: searingdaragh9@gmail.com

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