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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Switzerland team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Switzerland ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group G):

  • v France - 13 June, 1700 BST, Stuttgart
  • v Togo - 19 June, 1400 BST, Dortmund
  • v South Korea - 23 June, 2000 BST, Hanover

    How did they get to Germany: In controversial circumstances. They beat Turkey on away goals after their thrilling qualifying play-off finished 4-4. A fracas followed the final whistle, resulting in a series of sanctions for the Turks and - more importantly for the Swiss - a six-game ban for player Benjamin Huggel.

    Qualifying star: Alexander Frei. His 88th-minute header earned a 1-0 qualifying win against outsiders Cyprus in March. Their group was the tightest in Europe and had Switzerland not won that match they would not have reached the play-offs.

    Manager: Jakob 'Kobi' Kuhn. Took over in summer 2001 to become the first Swiss coach of the national side in 12 years. Has overseen an improvement in fortunes, guiding the side to Euro 2004 before securing their place in Germany.

    Johann Vogel
    Captain: Johann Vogel. The experienced 28-year-old AC Milan player offers a solid presence for the Swiss in midfield, and has won more than 70 caps since making his international debut in 1995.

    World Cup pedigree: Not great. They reached the last eight in 1934, 1938 and 1954 - but have not done much since. Reached the second round in 1994, but missed out on the past two tournaments.

    World Cup high: Hosting the tournament in 1954 and knocking out Italy in the group stage after beating them 4-1.

    World Cup low: Later in that same tournament, losing an extraordinary quarter-final 7-5 to neighbours Austria - a World Cup record for goals in a game - after being 3-0 up.

    World Cup legend: Josef Huegi was exceptional at the 1954 finals, scoring six goals including a hat-trick against Austria in the quarter-final.

    Alexander Frei

    Present star man: Frei again. The Stade Rennes man, who won that Cyprus qualifier, has been in the top two scorers in the last two French league seasons - although his return has tailed off this term.

    Strengths: Switzerland are young, quick and technical. Left-back Ludovic Magnin is great at set pieces and creates lots of goals. Arsenal defender Phillippe Senderos is a real talent - provided he keeps his concentration.

    Weaknesses: Can be a tad lightweight and lack experience. Their nerve nearly went in the play-off against Turkey - they were 3-0 up on aggregate and ended up scraping through on away goals and there are question marks over keeper Pascal Zuberbuhler.

    Did you know? Even though the Swiss were out blowing horns in celebration of their World Cup qualification, noise is not something they always embrace - it was once against the law to slam your car door in a city in the country.

    World ranking: 35

    Odds: 150/1

    Local view: "The Swiss expect to lose every time they play a half-decent side and have a bit of an inferiority complex. But when they qualified, the population celebrated wildly, and came out of their shells for first time in ages." Geneva-based journalist Pete Sanderson.

    Our verdict: The Swiss are a talented young team - but they lack a cutting edge and reaching the latter knockout stages will be a major achievement.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.



  • 2006 WORLD CUP TEAM GUIDES
     

    SEE ALSO
    Pick your Switzerland XI
    31 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: Switzerland
    29 Sep 05 |  Country profiles


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