August 3, 2021

Switzerland, all about the team

The Nati is simply the abbreviation from National team (” National team “). A nickname adopted on both sides of the “rösti barrier”, this linguistic and mental boundary that separates French-speaking Switzerland in the west from German-speaking Switzerland in the east.

  • The calendar (French time)

June 12: Switzerland v Wales, 3 p.m., in Baku

June 16: Switzerland v Italy, 9 p.m., in Rome

June 20: Switzerland – Turkey, 6 p.m., in Baku

The first two of each group as well as the four best thirds qualify.

  • The team that should play

Yann Sommer – Manuel Akanji, Fabian Schär, Nico Elvedi, Kevin Mbabu – Remo Freuler, Granit Xhaka, Steven Zuber, Xherdan Shaqiri – Haris Seferovic, Breel Embolo.

This is the fifth participation of Switzerland, which has so far reached, at best, only the round of 16, in 2016.

  • The coach: Vladimir Petkovic

Born in Sarajevo in 1963 into a Croatian family, Vladimir Petkovic (who played in Switzerland from 1987) embodies this multicultural Nati with the Balkan tropism, in particular made up of internationals from Albania and Kosovo. Since arriving in 2014, Switzerland have competed in two World Cups and one Euro, but have always stumbled in the round of 16. “We must never forget that qualifying for a World Cup and a Euro remains a great result for Switzerland », Recalls the technician.

Despite a delicate 2020 year (no victory in seven games), Vladimir Petković retains the confidence of his federation, which extended his contract until 2022. Since then, the coach has been able to buy himself a little serenity thanks to two victories, against Bulgaria and Lithuania, opening the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

  • One player: Xherdan Shaqiri

Standing 1.68m tall (and endowed with a wrestler’s torso), Xherdan Shaqiri is the playmaker and postman x of the Nati. A dazzling player – like his returnee elected goal of Euro 2016 – he is as confusing as his dribbling. Nicknamed a little hastily “the Messi of the Alps”, this number 10 has in selection a total freedom of action, far from his status as a luxury replacement in Liverpool.

Read also Euro 2016: Shaqiri and the Swiss selection, I love you, neither do I

In 2016, the player, born in 1991 in a Yugoslavia at war, had hesitated to join the young selection of Kosovo. As a new nation recognized by FIFA, the country could indeed solicit players who have already had international experience with another selection. A “why not” that has been criticized. Two years later, the original Kosovard scored against Serbia in the Swiss jersey in the first round of the World Cup, and mimicked an eagle, a gesture considered pro-Albanian, to chamber his opponents. What part of the Swiss press had reproached him for.

Xherdan Shaqiri flies off and scores against Poland during Euro 2016, June 25, 2016 in Saint-Etienne.
  • It happened to Euro

In 1996, Switzerland played its first Euro with a coach, a man with a mustache well known on the side of PSG: Artur Jorge. At the end of 1995, the Portuguese replaced Roy Hodgson, guilty in the eyes of the Swiss Football Association of having signed with Inter Milan for the following season.

As the newspaper says The morning, Artur Jorge seems to lose interest in the balance between French and German speakers. On May 28, he announced his selection to the chagrin of the Swiss Germans, who choked on discovering the absence of striker Adrian Knup and playmaker Alain Sutter. While the German press is unleashed, the group is already showing relative confidence in its coach.

However, Switzerland is playing well, and even fails to create the feat in opening against England in its garden of Wembley (1-1). But the Swiss ship then took to the water against the Netherlands (1-4), then against Scotland (0-1). “To go far, we would have had to be well prepared. This was not the case, there was no more line », will summarize the striker Stéphane Chapuisat, nostalgic for Roy Hodgson.

“It’s a black Sunday. ” On November 6, 1992, Federal Councilor Jean-Pascal Delamuraz saw his European dream crack. With a narrow majority (50.3%), the Swiss reject membership of the European economic area, which ensures the free movement of goods, services, capital and people for members of the European Union and certain associated states (such as Norway, another country that has remained outside the EU). In 2001, a new vote was organized, which this time turned into a fiasco for the initiators of “Yes to Europe!” ”With 76.8% for the no. Bern has never seemed so far from Brussels since.

When Celine Dion won the contest in 1988, the Quebecer (who had been selected thanks to the votes of viewers) put an end to a twenty-eight year shortage for Switzerland. Forever the first, Zurich’s Lys Assia had however inaugurated the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956 with two songs, one in German (The old carousel), the other in French (Refrain). The competition was still in its infancy. Behind the winner, there was no ranking and the president of the jury went on stage to announce his victory to a surprised Assia.

In Switzerland, the croissant is not only the star of breakfast, but also that of the aperitif in its version filled with ham. With aromatic herbs, mustard, quark (a cheese) or with potatoes, there is something for everyone. To quench your thirst, you can accompany it with a white wine from Valais, a region whose other specialty is the production of FIFA presidents: Sepp Blatter and Gianni Infantino both come from there.