The Swiss side managed to get through their qualifying group with relative ease, winning seven of their 10 matches and drawing three. Norway and Slovenia were believed to be their main rivals before the process started, but both teams disappointed and Switzerland ended up finishing seven points ahead of surprise package Iceland.

Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld currently has a great talent pool at his disposal. Many of his players have gathered experience and excelled outside of the domestic Super League. Especially the Bundesliga contingent – Ricardo Rodriguez, Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka – have had impressive seasons since their arrival in Germany’s top flight. Another important piece of the puzzle in Hitzfeld’s last FIFA World Cup in charge is influential SSC Napoli midfielder Gokhan Inler.

Switzerland will face Ecuador, France and Honduras in Group E. Given the team’s fine displays during qualifying and the squad at hand, it is not surprising that the Swiss are expecting their team to go through to the knockout stages. Hitzfeld is no different. “There’s no point in going to Brazil to play just three matches, “he said. Under the German, Switzerland have learned to emphasize the defensive aspects of the game. However, the coach has responded to critics who say his side were too rigid, by switching formations from 4-4-2 to a more fluid but still counter-attacking 4-2-3-1.

COACH>>

OTTMAR HITZFELD

The 65-year-old has won the German championship seven times with Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Munchen. He is one of four coaches who have won the EUFA Champions League (or its predecessor, the European Cup) with two different teams. Appointed in 2008, he led Switzerland at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Fixtures Group E

Ecuador
Brasilia 16 June 2014

France
Salvador 21 June 2014

Honduras
Manaus 26 June 2014

*Dates are AEST

Tournament history
Previous tournaments: 9

2010 FIFA World Cup performance
Group stage

Best performance
Quarter-finals, 1934, 1938, 1954

How they qualified
Winners, European Group E