Switzerland star Stephan Lichtsteiner

FIFA World Cup preview: Switzerland

There will be plenty of Irish footballers still gnashing their teeth over Switzerland playing at the FIFA World Cup.

Switzerland made the finals in controversial circumstances after a sketchy (at best) penalty decision against Northern Ireland.

That has been consigned to the history books, though, and the Swiss are here and the Irish are not.

Switzerland would do well to learn their lessons from their lucky escape, though, as tougher opposition awaits here. Switzerland might be ranked No.11 in the world, but they will need to be better than that in a group that includes perennial finalists Brazil.

The draw for Switzerland

Brazil, June 18

Serbia, June 23

Costa Rica, June 28

The star player for Switzerland

Arsenal's Stephan Lichtsteiner will be the steady veteran head and captain, but Xherdan Shaqiri will be the one they lean on for impact.

The Stoke City star is capable of breaking games open and will need a bag full of goals here. It will be his third World Cup at just 26 years of age, giving him a vital blend of youth and experience in one package.

His explosive pace will be his greatest weapon for Switzerland in Russia.

What needs to go right

Results against Serbia and Costa Rica will be vital. Brazil are widely expected to cruise their way through this group.

The whole squad will need to be at their best and Switzerland has a few 21-year-old wildcards.

If midfielder Dennis Zakaria and Breel Embolo can make the transition from up-and-comers to genuine world players, it will go a long way towards elevating Switzerland to the knockout stages.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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