Switzerland & the World Cup

June 12, 2014, 1 Comment

Swiss football fans

They are known as the Nati and they’re in Brazil as the 6th seeds for the World Cup. Their stars are not quite household names outside Switzerland, and even in Switzerland some have trouble pronouncing the names as much of the team is descended from immigrants. But maybe the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Josip Drmic can help Switzerland do better than ever.

Switzerland hosted the Cup finals in 1954 but has never won; in fact never got past the quarter finals. The Swiss hold a few World Cup records that they never really wanted:

  • They were the first team ever to be eliminated from the finals without conceding a goal. In Germany in 2006 the Swiss survived their group games 0-0, 2-0 and 2-0, then 0-0 in the last 16 against Ukraine. No surprise that the Swiss defend so well: defence is the only form of attack for neutral Switzerland, which is constantly preparing for invasions that may never happen.
  • It was the first team not to score a single penalty in a shoot-out. That came in that match against Ukraine in 2006.
  • Switzerland didn’t concede a goal for a record 559 minutes of play across seven World Cup final matches, from the match against Spain in 1994 to the match against Chile in 2010.
  • The highest scoring match in World Cup history, with 12 goals, was the quarter final between Switzerland and Austria in 1954. Despite scoring five goals, the Swiss lost 7-5 to their bitter rivals.

Switzerland’s World Cups have not been great: eight times managing to get past the qualifying rounds and from those, three quarter-final matches (1934, 1938, 1954). That record-breaking 1954 match was Switzerland’s last quarter-final appearance; West Germany went on to win that Cup in the Bern (known in German as Das Wunder von Bern), played at my favourite stadium, Wankdorf. Here’s a previous post about that name.

Last time in South Africa, the Swiss were the only team to beat the eventual champions, Spain, but that happened in the opening rounds and the Swiss failed to qualify from their group.

Maybe this time they can go a bit further. Their first match in Group E is on Sunday against Ecuador,then June 20 against France and June 25 against Honduras. In Switzerland the matches are being shown live in many locations – places the Swiss refer to as ‘public viewings’, which doesn’t mean quite the same in real English. Newly Swissed website has compiled a list of locations.

No European side has ever won the World Cup in South America. Switzerland was unbeaten in its ten qualifying games so could it be the first?

Hopp Schwiiz!

One Comment on "Switzerland & the World Cup"

  1. Dimitri Monday June 16th, 2014 at 08:55 PM · Reply

    You have to admit – what a finish to the game against Ecuador… But of course, I fully respect your stance towards this circus, Sir Diccon Bewes! 😉

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