Euro 2016 Group A

Switzerland

11 June - Albania (2pm GMT, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)
15 June - Romania (5pm GMT Parc des Princes, Paris)
19 June - France (8pm GMT, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille)

A short trip over the Alps beckons for the Swiss, who will be targeting the Last 16 at a minimum. Gaby McKay weighs-up their chances.

Swiss return to the Euros

Having missed out on Euro 2012, Switzerland will be looking to made amends this summer. A narrow defeat to finalists Argentina in the Last 16 at World Cup 2014 showed they can be competitive, and with two fairly straightforward games to start, the Swiss will be looking to go beyond the Group for the first time in their history.

Coach: Vladimir Petkovic. The Bosnian’s appointment was controversial, as he was negotiating with the Swiss Federation while still at Lazio. Won the Coppa Italia in Rome, and guided Switzerland to second in qualifying Group E.

Preferred XI: Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Klose, Rodriguez; Behrami, Inler, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Drmic, Stocker

Petkovic prefers a 4-3-3 system which allows Xherdan Shaqiri and Valentin Stocker the freedom to roam and cause problems for the opposition defence.

Look out for: The right flank. With Shaqiri’s skill and inventiveness, and Stephan Lichtsteiner’s grit and stamina, expect much of the play to come down the right.

Did You Know?

  • Although Switzerland have never won this tournament, they co-hosted with Austria in 2008.
  • Switzerland have never won an international tournament, though they received a silver medal at the 1924 Olympics, losing to Uruguay in the final.
  • Switzerland’s first Coach, Karl Rappan, is credited as the inventor of the catenaccio system - though he called it “verrou” - later associated with Italian football.

Stats

Population: 8.2m
Nickname: Schweizer Nati, La Nati, Squadra nazionale
Calcio fans might remember… Gokhan Inler - Udinese (2007-2011) Napoli (2011-2015)
Top Division: Swiss Super League
FIFA World Ranking: 14
International honours: None
Most capped player: Heinz Hermann (118)
Leading international goalscorer: Alexander Frei (42)
Switzerland at the European Championships:

1960 - Did not qualify
1964 - Did not qualify
1968 - Did not qualify
1972 - Did not qualify
1976 - Did not qualify
1980 - Did not qualify
1984 - Did not qualify
1988 - Did not qualify
1992 - Did not qualify
1996 - Group stage
2000 - Did not qualify
2004 - Group stage
2008 - Group stage
2012 - Did not qualify

How they got to Euro 2016: Second in Group E behind England.