Switzerland National Football Team
Football is the number 1 sport in Switzerland like it is in its central European neighbors. But despite football’s widespread popularity in the country, Switzerland’s success in international football has been undistinguished. A-Team Nati has played in three World Cup quarterfinals, the last of which came in 1954.
However, while they’ve never made it further than the quarters, they are part of an incredible World Cup record. The Switzerland National Football team did not concede a single goal in the World Cup for 559 minutes between 2006 and 2010 World Cup. No other team has maintained a longer clean sheet period in World Cup history. The Switzerland National Football biggest achievement to date is winning the silver medal in the 1924 Summer Olympics.
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Thursday November 24 – Switzerland vs Cameroon (Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah; kick-off 11am).
Monday November 28 – Brazil vs Switzerland (Stadium 974, Doha; kick-off 5pm).
Friday, December 2 – Serbia vs Switzerland (Stadium 974, Doha; kick-off 8pm).
Switzerland National Football Begginings
Switzerland was one of the co-founders of FIFA in 1904, but it did not play its first international friendly before 1905. Switzerland claimed the silver medal in the 1924 Paris Summer Olympics football. Like most European nations, Switzerland was not eager to cross the Atlantic to play in the first World Cup in 1930.
Switzerland National Football First World Cup Appearances
Switzerland would make its World Cup debut in 1934, when Italy hosted the tournament. In its inaugural World Cup campaign, Switzerland made it to the last eight, beating the Netherlands in the round-of-16. But, a loss to Czechoslovakia brought an end to the Swiss World Cup adventure. Switzerland would make the quarterfinals in 1938 again, but it failed to cross the threshold once again.
Following a group stage exit from the 1950 World Cup, Switzerland returned to the World Cup in 1954 as the host nation. Switzerland qualified for the quarterfinal but got eliminated in a historic 7-5 defeat to Austria. Twelve goals were scored in the Switzerland-Austria match. It still stands as the highest-scoring match in World Cup history. Josef Hügi and Robert Ballaman gave Switzerland a 3-0 lead within 19 minutes, but Austria made a stunning recovery and ended up winning the game 7-5.
Struggles in the World Cup
After the 1954 World Cup, Switzerland failed to qualify for the 1958 edition. The Rossocrociati would return in 1962 and 1966 but get knocked out of the group stages on both occasions. Switzerland was absent from all major tournaments for the next 28 years. Roy Hodgson took charge of the Swiss national team and restored its status as a World Cup team in 1994.
En route to the World Cup finals, Switzerland had lost only once in a group that contained eventual 1994 runner-up Italy and strong Portugal and Scotland teams. As a result, the Switzerland National Football team climbed to the third spot in the August 1993 FIFA rankings. Switzerland qualified for the round-of-16, where it lost 3-0 to Spain. Under Hodgson, Switzerland would also qualify for the Euro 1996. However, it could not make it out of the group stages.
The Modern Era
Switzerland’s next major tournament appearance came in the Euro 2004, where it finished bottom of the group, scoring only once in three matches. The only Switzerland goal was scored by Johan Vonlanthen in A-Team Nati’s 3-1 loss against France. Vonlanthen was only 18 years and 141 days old at that time, becoming the youngest scorer in the European Championship history.
Switzerland had better success in the 2006 World Cup. After starting with a 0-0 draw with France, the Swiss would go on to pick up consecutive 2-0 victories against Togo and South Korea. As a result, Switzerland entered the knockout stages as a group champion and got Ukraine as its round-of-16 opponent. In a lifeless match, the teams played out a goalless draw before Ukraine beat Switzerland on penalties. Unfortunately, Switzerland became the first team in World Cup history to get knocked out of the competition without conceding a single goal.
Switzerland Hosts Euro 2008
Two years later, Switzerland featured in the Euro 2008 as one of the host nations. However, it failed to make the most out of its home advantage as it went crashing out of the group stages. A 2-0 win in the final group match over Portugal was too little too late for Switzerland as it had lost its first two matches.
Switzerland opened the 2010 World Cup with a surprise 1-0 victory over Spain, who went on to win the tournament. Despite such an amazing start, Switzerland would not survive beyond the group stage as it lost to Chile in the next match and failed to beat Honduras in the final group match, which finished in a 0-0 draw.
Mark González scored the decisive goal for Chile in the 75th minute in Chile’s 1-0 victory over the Switzerland National Football team. It was the first goal Switzerland conceded in 559 World Cup minutes, nine minutes longer than the 550-minute shutout Italy had set between its 1986 and 1990 World Cup campaigns.
Switzerland National Football Today
Switzerland National Football has featured in all of the last five World Cups. In 2014, an agonizing 118th-minute Ángel Di María goal sent them packing for home from the round-of-16. In 2018, Switzerland fell to a 1-0 defeat against Sweden in the round-of-16. The round-of-16 curse haunted Switzerland in the European competition as well as it lost to Poland on penalties in Euro 2016.
Switzerland would finally cross the round-of-16 barrier and qualify for the first major international quarterfinal in 67 years when it made it to the Euro 2020 quarterfinals before enduring the agony of another penalty shootout elimination.