Switzerland

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ONLY THE suits at FIFA can explain how Switzerland occupy the No. 6 spot in its world rankings — only Spain, Germany, Brazil, Portugal and Argentina are ranked higher. But the draw has been kind enough and the team has a realistic chance of progressing to the second round. In Ottmar Hitzfeld, the Swiss have a master tactician. Since his appointment in 2008, the German coach has played midwife to the birth of a side that is blessed with plenty of creative ability. Defence remains a weakness, with the first-choice pairing of Fabin Schar and Steve von Bergen not inspiring much confidence among the fans and pundits. But Hitzfeld can take heart from the fact that he can call upon the likes of Napoli stars Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami to shield the shaky defence. Winger Xherdan Shaqiri has not had many opportunities to strut his stuff at Bayern Munich, but he has been the pivot of the Swiss team of late. In the able company of Valentin Stocker and Granit Xhaka, Shaqiri can prove a handful for any quality defence. Josip Drmic will be the focal point of the attack, which does not score often, but can get the job done.

 

Switzerland

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