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Switzerland Euro 2020 preview: Key players, strengths, weaknesses and expectations

A preview of Switzerland ahead of Euro 2020. Including…

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For a side who sit 13th in FIFA’s world rankings, it’s astonishing to think Switzerland haven’t won a knockout tie at a major tournament since the 1938 World Cup.

At Euro 2016, they made it to the second round but were beaten on penalties by Poland. That’s as far as they’ve been in this particular competition ever.

Here’s everything you need to know about a team that traditionally promise more than they ever deliver.

Switzerland qualified for Euro 2020 as Group D winners. They lost just once along the way, drawing twice and winning their other five fixtures. Denmark, the Republic of Ireland, Georgia and Gibraltar made up the rest of the group.

Vladimir Petkovic’s side finished just a point clear of the Danes, against whom they drew 3-3 at home but were beaten in the away clash.

Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka will captain the side at Euro 2020 / Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Swiss captain Granit Xhaka has often been criticised when plying his trade in the Premier League but when representing his country he rarely lets them down.

He brings stability to the midfield and enjoys progressing the ball from deeper positions to the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri – a fine player on his day, capable of causing most problems. The only issue is those days seem to be too few and far between lately.

Their defensive solidity is arguably their biggest strength and that’s due to their rigid shape. You could argue that limits them in an attacking sense, but it certainly makes them a stubborn opponent for those who come up against them.

Goals were difficult to come by during the qualification campaign. More than half of their 19 goals came in the two fixtures against Gibraltar and it’s clear that when faced with opposition of a higher standard they struggle to score with any regularity. This is partly down to the inconsistency of their forwards at international level as well as a general struggle for creativity.

This current Swiss side also have a terrible habit of switching off late on in games. Three times during their eight qualification group fixtures they conceded late goals. In the aforementioned 3-3 draw with Denmark, Petkovic’s men were 3-0 up with just six minutes remaining and somehow surrendered their lead.

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Haris Seferovic is Switzerland’s standout goal threat / FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty Images

Haris Seferovic is Switzerland’s standout goal threat, having netted 22 times in 31 league appearances for Benfica last season. He’s not always been as prolific at international level but that’s largely due to the fact his national side create far fewer opportunities.

Rangers‘ Cedric Itten is another one to watch. He only made his debut in the penultimate game of qualifying. While the sample size is small still, he has managed three goals in his three international appearances for the senior team and there are high hopes for him going into the competition.

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

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

Midfielders: Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Ruben Vargas (Augsburg), Steven Zuber (Eintracht Frankfurt), Djibril Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt), Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys), Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach), Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz), Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool)

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

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Switzerland take on Wales in Baku in their Group A opener on Saturday / OZAN KOSE/Getty Images

Switzerland’s lack of cutting edge is likely to see them struggle for goals and it’s difficult to see where the victories are going to come from. In Turkey, Italy and Wales they will face three sides who are far more balanced.

Petkovic, who statistically is Switzerland’s most successful ever coach, has got a difficult job on his hands and they could end up finishing bottom of Group A.

Source: 90 Mins

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