Five facts about the Swiss national football team

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Five facts about the Swiss national football team
The Swiss team at their Montpellier training ground. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP

The Swiss national football team arrived at their Montpellier training ground on Monday ahead of their first Group A match against Albania on Saturday. As they prepare for the match in Lens, here are a few things you may not know about the 'Nati'.


1. History isn't on their side.

Switzerland have finished bottom of the first round group at each of the three European Championship finals they have played in.

Swiss fans do not fancy their country's chances at Euro 2016 either and luck is not always on their side. On their Euro debut against hosts England in 1996 they sneaked a 1-1 draw but then lost to Netherlands and Scotland.

In 2004, they managed a goalless draw against Croatia and then lost to England and France. As hosts in 2008, they lost to Czech Republic and Turkey, but finally got their first win when Hakan Yakin scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Portugal, who did not use Cristiano Ronaldo.

2. They hold an unwanted World Cup record
At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Switzerland set a record they will not want to be reminded of, by going out in the last 16 despite not having conceded a goal in the whole tournament. They lost to Ukraine in a penalty shootout -- the Swiss did not score any of their penalties.

Their World Cup defensive shield stayed up until the second group game of the 2010 finals when Chile scored against them. Switzerland went 559 minutes in all without conceding a goal at the World Cup finals in regular play.

3. They're multinational
The Switzerland-Albania clash on June 11th stands out because it could see Swiss and Arsenal star Granit Xhaka playing against his brother Taulant in the Albanian side.

Each team has at least six players who are qualified to compete for the other side. Switzerland has the likes of Stoke City star Xerdan Shaqiri who was born in Albania but moved to Switzerland with his parents. Taulant Xhaka is among an opposing wave born in Switzerland but who moved back or chose to play for Albania.
4. They have a superstar in the making
19-year-old Breel Embolo, born in Cameroon, will be one of the most watched players at Euro 2016 because his skills have already attracted the scouts of top clubs from across the continent. His Basel club side have reportedly already rejected a 27 million euro ($30.5 million) offer from German club Wolfsburg. He has also been linked to Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

Embolo was given Swiss citizenship in December 2014 and played the first of nine internationals for the full team just four months later. His only international goal came from the penalty spot in a 7-0 win over San Marino that secured Switzerland's place in Euro 2016.

5. It's Seferovic's Euro debut for Switzerland
Haris Seferovic, Switzerland's current top scorer, nearly slipped through the national net.

The Eintracht Frankfurt forward was born in Switzerland in 1992 after his parents moved from Bosnia. In 2013 he announced he wanted to play for the country of his parents' birth but then accepted a callup to the Swiss national side and made his debut in February that year against Greece.

Seferovic, often used as a substitute, has since scored seven goals.


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