Route to Euro 2016
The route to the Euros didn’t start well for the Swiss. First, they lost 2-0 to England and then suffered a 1-0 defeat to Slovenia in Qualifying Group E.
Despite losing their first two games, Switzerland won five games in a row to give them a fairly comfortable run to the Euro 2016 finals.
After a 2-0 loss to England ended their winning run, a 7-0 victory over San Marino guaranteed qualification with one match still to go. They finished as runners-up to England with 24 goals and 14 players on the score sheet.
Switzerland made their debut in the European Championship finals at Euro ‘96. Despite a 1-1 draw with hosts England, defeats to Holland and Scotland left them bottom of the group.
Eight years later at Euro 2004, the Swiss found themselves in another group with England. This time, they lost 3-0 and ended bottom of the group once again.
It wasn’t until Switzerland became co-hosts with Austria in Euro 2008 that they finally won a game at the Euros.
Despite finishing last place in their group, they got themselves a consolation 2-0 win over Portugal, who were already through to the next round with very little to lose.
Head coach Vladimir Petković took over from Ottmar Hitzfeld after the 2014 World Cup. He was given his marching orders by Lazio the previous January for agreeing to take the Swiss job.
Before Lazio sacked him, Petković led I Biancazzurri to the Coppa Italia trophy in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico.
He managed a number of Swiss clubs before that, and won a league runners-up place with Young Boys in his three years there.
Most important player
Xherdan Shaqiri of Stoke City has many nicknames, including the complimentary ‘Alpine Messi’, as well as the slightly less flattering ‘Magic Dwarf’.
While Shaqiri isn’t fast, he makes up for that with excellent skill on the ball, pinpoint control, and his searing shots.
After moving to Basel as a child, Cameroon-born striker Breel Embolo became a Swiss citizen in December 2014 at the age of 17.
Embolo made his full international debut in March 2015 and his first goal came in the win over San Marino.
He’s fast and athletic, performs at his best with the ball at his feet, and excels in taking on defenders at speed. He has extraordinary strength for such a young player and is able to repel challenges well.
Manchester United have sent scouts to watch Embolo both before and after they signed Anthony Martial. Embolo is stronger than the young Frenchman and is better at holding the ball.
However, he is yet to show the level of finishing ability or general awareness as Martial, but he is still definitely one to watch out for in the future.
At 50/1 to win the tournament, such a feat is not outside the realms of possibility but is still very unlikely. After all, the Swiss have never gone beyond the group stage.
After being impressed with some of their performances in the qualifiers, we reckon they’ve got a good chance this time. As a result, we’ve put them as second favourites to qualify from Group E at odds of 1/3.