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How they qualified
Switzerland secured their place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ on the penultimate qualifying matchday. However, it was far from plain sailing for Die Eidgenossen, who faced several setbacks along the way.
Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld’s ensemble raced to the group summit following opening victories over Slovenia and Albania, but dropped points for the first time in their next qualifying games. Hitzfeld’s charges recorded a 1-1 draw with Norway and a 2-0 victory over Iceland before chalking up a draw and a win against Cyprus.
Nerves got the better of Switzerland in their next game against Iceland, when they ended up drawing 4-4 after leading 4-1. There were no further slip-ups in their final outings though, with a 2-0 triumph over Norway all but ensuring their qualification for a third consecutive World Cup, before a 2-1 win over Albania sealed Switzerland’s Brazil 2014 ticket with a game to spare.
FIFA World Cup finals history
Switzerland have contested the FIFA World Cup finals nine times to date (1934, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1994, 2006 and 2010), reaching the last eight on three occasions. However, their most recent appearance at the quarter-final stage came almost 50 years ago, at the 1954 finals on home soil.
Since then, the Swiss have twice made the last sixteen (1994 and 2006), but failed to survive the group stage three times. Their group campaign in 2010 was a bittersweet affair: they handed eventual world champions Spain a 1-0 defeat in their opening fixture, but ultimately packed for home after just three games.
The key players
There is undoubted quality throughout the side, starting with keeper Diego Benaglio, a German championship winner in 2009 with VfL Wolfsburg. The combination of experienced players such as Tranquillo Barnetta, Gokhan Inler and Philippe Senderos, with highly-talented youngsters Xherdan Shaqiri, Fabian Schar, Granit Xhaka and Valentin Stocker, has borne fruit and the side are more than capable of making their mark at Brazil 2014.
Coach: Ottmar Hitzfeld
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA U-17 World Cup Nigeria 2009 (Winners), FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Dubai 2009 (Runners-up), FIFA World Cup Italy 1934, France 1938, Switzerland 1954 (Quarter-finals)
Former stars: Alexander Frei, Stephane Chapuisat, Johann Vogel, Hakan Yakin
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