WORLD CUP HISTORY: South Africa will be the ninth World Cup for the Swiss. A three-time quarter-finalist, Switzerland is coming off the heels of a knockout round berth in Germany four years ago, where they lost a heart-breaking penalty shootout to Ukraine.
QUALIFICATION: A slow start to qualifying saw the team lose to minnows Luxembourg. In case you aren’t aware, nobody loses to Luxembourg. Still, Ottmar Hitzfeld and his Swiss squad righted the ship in time to win their group outright, beating out Greece, Latvia and Israel in the process.
KEY PLAYER: Alexander Frei. Once again, the danger man for Switzerland will be their captain Frei. The Basel striker is his country’s all-time leading scorer with 40 goals. He was in fine form for his club this past season with 15 goals in 17 matches. However, a broken arm sidelined him for ten weeks, so fitness is of the premium. His country will be depending on him to be in the right place at the right time as he so often is.
EXPECTATIONS: Switzerland find themselves in a tough group with a real Latin feel to it. Spain is naturally the top pick in Group H, while Chile and Honduras are two teams that will not be walked over. Though formidable, the Swiss will have a difficult time progressing from their group.