Switzerland qualified for the World Cup automatically at the expense of Italy to finish top of Group C. Murat Yakin’s team took advantage of the Azzurri’s draw in Northern Ireland to secure their berth at the end of their unbeaten season with a decisive 4-0 victory over Bulgaria. As a token of appreciation, Yakin delivered a large shipment of Swiss chocolate to the Northern Ireland team. His team will now be looking to build on an encouraging Euros when Switzerland defeated World Cup champions France in the round of 16 for the first time since 1938 and then forced Spain to a shootout in the quarterfinals.
The world champions France were eliminated by Switzerland at the Euros, and they nearly eliminated Spain as well. Since then, Switzerland has taken other notable victims. In order to keep their top-tier status in the Nations League, there were victories over Portugal in June, Spain in September, and then, rather by accident, the Czech Republic. Switzerland has put a stop to a troubling five-game losing streak that included four losses and a home draw with Kosovo earlier in 2022. Now playing in their preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, Switzerland appears to have an encouraging balance across the field.
Options for center-back Ricardo Rodriguez, who recently earned his 100th cap, is one of the numerous seasoned players. Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler combine effectively in midfield, and an assault spearheaded by Breel Embolo poses a real threat. Other good players include Nico Elvedi, Fabian Schar, and Manuel Akanji. The Swiss should feel optimistic about beating Serbia and Cameroon to the second qualifying slot in Group G despite Brazil being the clear favorite. Xhaka, a revitalized midfielder for Arsenal, is the team’s captain and an important member with over 104 caps. Switzerland has a number of attacking threats in Breel Embolo, Haris Seferovic, and Xherdan Shaqiri, but if Xhaka can continue his early-season brilliance for Arsenal on the greatest platform, they may be in business.
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