May 14, 2006
Random World Cup Facts: Switzerland
Times Qualified: 8
Best Result: Quarterfinals (1934, 1938, 1954)
Top Swiss Political Issue: Switzerland ranks among the slowest nations in the naturalization of immigrants. With increasing unemployment among the foreign population (in many cases second and third generation immigrants), there are concerns that there may be unrest similar to France last year.
Football in Switzerland: Switzerland has had to constantly take a back seat to their much more successful neighbors. Those neighbors are also the places where a majority of the national team plies its trade. Switzerland is also in the process of preparing for its role as joint host of Euro 2008 along with Austria.
Players to Watch: The current Swiss team is young and full of talent. Philippe Senderos (Arsenal) had a fantastic season in the English Premier League. However, he is definitely lacking in pace. Johan Vonlanthen (NAC Breda, on loan from PSV) may also play a vital role in Switzerland's campaign.
Chances: The Swiss showed they were capable of playing at the same level as France in qualifiers. Their key match in the group will come against South Korea, however. The Koreans rely on pace at all positions and the Swiss defenders may have some difficult.
Prediction: Another quarterfinal finish seems likely considering the draw.