Pedigree With minimal fuss, Switzerland has become an admirably common feature of both World Cups and European Championships. Murat Yakin’s team earned a place in its fifth straight World Cup by finishing on top of a qualifying group that included Italy, the European champion, and it did so without losing a game.
Ambition Switzerland generally, and correctly, regards reaching the knockout rounds as a sort of par finish. Traditionally, it is then eliminated in the most boring game of the tournament: Its three round-of-16 games this century have produced only two goals (neither of them for Switzerland). It would be nice if, this time, it could go down in a blaze of glory.
Key Question Switzerland has long been a kind of low-key Belgium: a small country punching well above its relative weight. Like Belgium, the group of players responsible for that success are now past their primes. This may prove to be a tournament too far.