This article is part of Guardian’s World Cup 2022 Expert Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organizations from the 32 qualifying countries. theguardian.com is showing previews from two countries every day ahead of the tournament, which begins on November 20.
The national team – called National at home – have steadily closed the gap to the best teams in the world over the past decade. Some of the most important players, such as Granit Xhaka, Ricardo Rodriguez and Haris Seferovic, won the Under-17 World Cup in 2009. They now form the backbone of this team with players who have reached the final of Euro under 21 in 2011. , including Yann Sommer and Xherdan Shaqiri.
Switzerland have been remarkably consistent in qualifying for major tournaments, missing only one, Euro 2012, in the last 16 years. They have started to qualify for the knockout stage regularly lately, reaching the last 16 in three consecutive tournaments before going even further and qualifying for the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 last year .
They came from 3-1 up against France to beat the world champions on penalties to reach the last eight, where they also took Spain to penalties, only this time they lost. However, it showed how close they were to the best.
There are strong individuals in the team, like Xhaka, Shaqiri, Sommer, Manuel Akanji and Breel Embolo, but the success of the Swiss in recent years is down to the collective. “We don’t have Ronaldo and Messi in the team, we only work when we work together,” captain Xhaka said. “Playing against us is very uncomfortable.”
During the Vladimir Petkovic era – between 2014 and 2021 – the Swiss played dominant possession-based football. Murat Yakin, who took over last year, made only small adjustments to this plan of attack. The team now tries to be more unpredictable and sometimes play a direct style.
Switzerland finished ahead of Italy in the World Cup qualifiers, hopefully, and have been part of the Nations League First Division since its inception in 2018. They enter the World Cup full of confidence, although minor injuries to players such as two of the goalkeepers, Sommer and Jonas Omlin, as well as defender Nico Elvedi and striker Ruben Vargas are of concern.