World Cup 2018: 5 Swiss players to look out for
In the 2006 World Cup, Switzerland crashed out of the competition in the Round of 16 after losing on penalties. The team failed to score a single penalty in the shootout against Ukraine, creating a historical record in the process. Four years later, the Swiss national team won just one of their three group stage matches. That ended their hopes of advancing further in the competition. In the previous edition, Die Nati was eliminated in the Round of 16 too.
The furthest the boys have reached is the quarter-finals. However, that feat was dated back to 1954 when Switzerland was the host nation. Looking at their journey to the World Cup, the nation did an amazing job to draw with Spain less than two weeks ago. Then, they overcame Japan with ease. The only time the team did not score was during the goalless draw against Northern Ireland back in November 2017.
In this calendar year, Petković's boys have not lost. The squad's last loss was at the hands of Euro 2016 Champions, Portugal, which dated back in October 2017. The historical records of Switzerland's performance in the World Cup are certainly not in the nation's favor. However, the European team generally looks strong with a couple of players to look out for. These players could make a difference for their nation and see Die Nati advance far in Russia.
#5 Yann Sommer
The 29-year-old keeper is set to be his nation's first choice in between the posts. He was in the squad which traveled to Brazil for the 2014 edition of the World Cup. However, the goalkeeper remained on the bench all the time. When Switzerland faces Brazil, Sommer could make his first long-awaited appearance in the World Cup.
In 35 appearances for his nation, Sommer has kept 10 clean sheets and conceded 19 goals. He is considered to be extremely focused and alert throughout the match even if the action does not happen in his own half. With Brazil's attackers having great pace in their games, his ability to concentrate would be vital for his nation. The Borussia Mönchengladbach keeper has an average 92% claim success and made 2.46 saves per game in Bundesliga last season. His consistent performances have made him one of the biggest stars of his club.
Standing at 1.83m, Sommer is definitely not the tallest keeper in the competition. It is foreseen that Switzerland will advance to the Round of 16. Previously in Euro 2016, his nation had lost on penalties to Poland in the Round of 16. During the build-up to the World Cup, he surely would have worked on penalties and will be hoping not to repeat the same fate this time around.