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Euro 2020: What happened when Switzerland last made it so far – and why you should watch to the end

Around 250,000 people turned off the TV after France scored to make it 3-1, meaning they missed one of the best performances in Swiss football history.

Euro 2020: What happened when Switzerland last made it so far - and why you should watch to the end
Two players clash at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland. Photo: AFP

Switzerland might be a passionate football nation, but as a small country surrounded by footballing powerhouses like Germany, Italy and of course France, there’s a tendency to be a tad pessimistic. 

Official viewing figures showed that just over 250,000 people turned off their TV sets after France’s Paul Pogba scored to make it 3-1, seemingly giving the Swiss little hope of a comeback. 

According to Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes, only one third of those who switched off actually turned the TV back on to see the greatest comeback in Swiss footballing history. 

The emotional rollercoaster was symbolised by the contrasting images of this Swiss super fan, who has since come to worldwide fame after his reactions went viral. 

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

What happened the last time Switzerland went far in an international tournament? 

It might not surprise you to learn that the last time the Swiss national side went far in a men’s tournament they were at home – although you may be surprised to learn that it was almost 70 years ago. 

It took place as Switzerland hosted the World Cup in 1954. The final saw West Germany surprisingly triumph over the heavily favoured Ferenc Puskas and the Hungarian national side 3-2 in what became known as the Miracle of Bern. 

The Swiss team managed to make it through to the quarter finals, but were bounced out 7-5 by Austria (no penalties) in a match with the most goals in world cup history. 

‘We don’t like France, Germany or Italy’: How linguistic diversity unites Swiss football fans

How will Switzerland go tonight? 

Switzerland are hoping to take another major scalp at Euro 2020 when they face Spain in the quarter-finals on Friday while Belgium sweat over the fitness of star duo Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne for their heavyweight clash with Italy in Munich.

The Swiss qualified for their first major tournament quarter-final since 1954 with a stunning win on penalties over reigning world champions France in Bucharest on Monday, and Vladimir Petkovic’s side are now hoping to get the better of another European powerhouse in Spain.

“We need to be hungry to make it to the next round,” said Petkovic, who is without his captain Granit Xhaka, so impressive against France but suspended here.

Spain arrived in Saint Petersburg fresh from a remarkable 5-3 extra-time win over Croatia in the last 16, a result which followed a 5-0 thumping of Slovakia in their final group game.

The 2008 and 2012 European champions are building momentum as they look to claim a record fourth continental title altogether, but Spain coach Luis Enrique knows all about the threat posed by the Swiss.

The sides met twice in the UEFA Nations League late last year, including in a dramatic 1-1 draw in which goalkeeper Yann Sommer, Switzerland’s penalty shoot-out hero against France, saved two spot-kicks from Sergio Ramos.

“The luck that we have, or the misfortune, is that we know each other very well,” Luis Enrique said on Thursday. “They are one of the best collectives in the tournament.”

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Who is Hansjörg Wyss, the Swiss billionaire in line to buy Chelsea FC?

According to media reports, Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss is set to buy Chelsea FC, with the club put up for sale as a likely consequence of sanctions on Russia. But who is he - and is the sale likely to happen?

Who is Hansjörg Wyss, the Swiss billionaire in line to buy Chelsea FC?

The Ukraine conflict and Russian sanctions have forced Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s hand, with the Russian billionaire announcing he is set to sell the club he has owned for two decades. 

The motivation for the deal has been intensely debated, with some arguing Abramovich is looking to protect his best-known asset from Russian sanctions, the identity of a prospective buyer has emerged: Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss. 

Wyss told the media on Tuesday he’d been sounded out about a potential purchase, telling Swiss tabloid Blick “like all the other oligarchs, he is panicked. Abramovich is currently trying to sell all his villas in England. He also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly.”

Who is Hansjörg Wyss and how did he make his billions? 

Wyss, 86, was born in Bern in 1935 and later moved to Zurich where he studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. 

He came from relatively modest beginnings, with his father a calculator salesman and his mother a writer. His sister, Hedi Wyss, is also a writer. 

Wyss later relocated to the United States, where he has lived since the 1960s. 

German magazine Welt notes he spent much of his life “as a phantom”, rarely giving interviews and living incognito on a large property in the US state of Wyoming. 

Like many billionaires Wyss has several sources of income, although his main money spinner was the medical device company Synthes. 

Wyss founded Synthes in the 1970s and oversaw its growth, before selling it for approximately CHF20 billion to pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson in 2012. 

How much money does Wyss have and can he afford Chelsea?

Despite his significant income, Wyss’ net worth is estimated at ‘only’ CHF5.3 billion as at 2022. 

Wyss has donated hundreds of millions of francs over the years to a variety of causes, including climate and conservation initiatives, while he also makes significant contributions to universities like Harvard and Cambridge. 

Forbes magazine described Wyss as “one of the most philanthropic people in the world”. 

While that might sound like an awful lot of money, it is unlikely Wyss can afford Chelsea on his own. 

While Abramovich bought Chelsea for roughly CHF180 million in 2003, the club has been valued as high as CHF4.9 billion. 

Given the amount of money necessary to keep a club running – Abramovic is believed to have invested CHF1.8 billion into the club over the years – it is clear that Wyss would be unable to purchase the club on his own. 

Wyss has admitted as much, with the Bernese telling Blick he has asked Abramovich to lower the asking price. 

“We do not yet know the exact sale price. I can very well imagine myself joining Chelsea with partners. First I have to look carefully at the conditions. 

“I certainly wouldn’t do such a thing alone. If I buy Chelsea, it will be with a consortium of six to seven investors.”

While the exact identity of the others remains unclear at this point, Blick reports Todd Boehly, owner of baseball side the LA Dodgers is likely to be one member of the ownership consortium. 

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