Focus on Wales’ opening Euro 2020 opponents Switzerland

The Swiss have won all five matches in 2021.

By Press Association Published: 11 June 2021 - 9.43am

Wales play Switzerland in their Euro 2020 opener on Saturday.

Here, the PA news agency puts the focus on the Switzerland team ahead of the Group A clash at the Olympic Stadium in Baku.

Form

Switzerland v Republic of Ireland – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group D – Stade de Geneve
Switzerland have become used to scoring goals and winning in 2021 (Simon Cooper/PA)

Switzerland head into Euro 2020 with a 100 per cent winning record in 2021. Warm-up friendly wins over Finland, the United States and Liechtenstein came on the back of opening 2022 World Cup qualifying victories against Bulgaria and Lithuania in March. Switzerland’s last defeat was in November 2020, 2-1 to Belgium in the Nations League. They drew 1-1 with Spain three days later before being awarded a 3-0 victory in their final Nations League game when Ukraine players tested positive for coronavirus.

Coach

Switzerland Training and Press Conference – King Power Stadium
Vladimir Petkovic has been Switzerland’s head coach since 2014 (Mike Egerton/PA)

Switzerland’s Sarajevo-born head coach Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld in 2014. The 57-year-old, who is an ethnic Croat from Bosnia and Herzegovina, emigrated from Yugoslavia to Switzerland in 1987. Petkovic holds both Swiss and Bosnian passports. He began his managerial career in Switzerland in 1997, coaching Lugano, Sion and Young Boys among others, and spending one season in Turkey with Samsunspor. Petkovic led Lazio to 2013 Coppa Italia success during a two-season spell in Italy, and has guided Switzerland to the last 16 of both Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

Tactics

Petkovic prefers to keep his opponents guessing over formations and tactics. The fact Switzerland’s players are dotted all around Europe’s top leagues now ensures Petkovic’s squad are able to adapt to subtle tactical tweaks. Petkovic has tended to favour close modifications of 3-4-2-1 and 5-4-1 formations, meaning his system could be similar or identical to that of Wales. Switzerland will be stubborn in their defensive shape and keen to break forward quickly in transition, while getting Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri on the ball to do maximum damage.

Key men

Switzerland Training Session and Press Conference
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka is the most capped player in the current Switzerland squad (Mike Egerton/PA)

Switzerland have a solid look about them, right through from Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer to Benfica striker Haris Seferovic. Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka is the most capped player in the squad with 94 appearances, while Shaqiri is only three behind that figure. Newcastle’s Fabian Schar is a key figure at the back and wing-backs Ricardo Rodriguez and Kevin Mbabu offer an attacking threat down the flanks.

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