Three Switzerland Players to Look out for in the 2018 World Cup

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Xherdan Shaqiri
SWANSEA, WALES - MAY 13: Xherdan Shaqiri of Stoke City during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Stoke City at Liberty Stadium on May 13, 2018 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)

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. Even though the records and odds are not in their favour, the European team looks strong with a couple of players to look out for.

Switzerland Players to Look Out For

Xherdan Shaqiri

The 26-year-old Swiss international is undoubtedly one of the best football talents that the team has. Blessed with a strong left foot, he is extremely accurate with his set-pieces and finishing. According to statistics provided by Squawka, he has a pass accuracy of 81% and a shot accuracy of 62%. Even though he has scored just eight goals and created seven assists in the whole Premier League season, critics should not judge solely on his goalscoring record. For a team who has struggled in the domestic league, Shaqiri remains one of the most consistent performing players of the club.

Since Shaqiri made his debut in 2010, he has gone on to make 70 appearances, scoring 20 goals in the process. Travelling to Russia this summer, he is one of the players who can lead Switzerland to greater heights. The Stoke City player is the key player that everyone should be wary of.  It will be a stern competition for the European team when they face Brazil. The expert set-piece taker could be the main player who will unlock the defence of his opponents.

Granit Xhaka

The Arsenal midfielder struggled in his first Premier League season, where fans started to question his price tag. After learning from his mistakes, Xhaka emerged as one of the more reliable players in the Gunners’ horrible 2017/18 season. The natural left-footer is extremely accurate with his long passes. This can be crucial in helping the Swiss transition from defence to attack, and vice versa.

Earlier, the 25-year-old suffered an injury scare. Fortunately, the Swiss suffered only a bone bruise and is fit for the competition. Despite not taking part in the match against Spain, he played the full 90 minutes against Japan. There is no reason why Xhaka will be left out of the starting eleven given his abilities and strengths.

Ricardo Rodriguez

The AC Milan defender stands strongly alongside captain Stephan Lichtsteiner. The Zurich born left-back has 53 caps to his name and brings lots of experience to his side. According to WhoScored, Rodriguez is strong in holding onto the ball and his passing. At the same time, he offers a strong threat in set-pieces and is able to cross the ball accurately.

After a pretty decent performance in Serie A, he has attracted suitors from English Premier League and Bundesliga. For now, his main focus will be on his country’s World Cup journey in Russia. His side will kick off their campaign against Brazil in the first match of Group E. It is certainly difficult and challenging to stop the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, and Gabriel Jesus. However, Rodriguez has shown his maturity and ability to cope with pressure. It may be the time that he shines in his second World Cup.

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