It’s been an incredible year for the Swiss National Team.
From St. Gallen to St. Petersburg, it was an action-packed year for Vladimir Petković’s team as they end 2018 ranked 8th in the world.
In fact, there’s so much to talk about I’m splitting it into two parts. Part One will look at the statistics and the standout players, while Part Two will relive the matches and what the future has to hold.
It’s also been an amazing year for me, as I went to my first World Cup and saw my beloved Switzerland play. Although it was only my second time seeing my national team, I’ve never felt closer to them.
It was an incredible year, so to commemorate it I’ve decided to reflect on 2018 for the Switzerland National Football Team.
Of the 29 goals scored, it was striker Haris Seferović who was Switzerland’s top scorer. He got six goals this year, including a wonderful hat trick against Belgium. For a player who received huge criticism this year (especially from me) he was the man who supplied the most goals for the Swiss.
Joint second in goals scored were Ricardo Rodríguez, Blerim Džemaili, and Steven Zuber, who scored three goals each. Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka and Mario Gavranović are close behind on two goals each.
Vladimir Petković has changed the mentality of Switzerland, especially in bringing the players together as one team. That showed in 2018, with magnificent team performances game after game.
To pick standout players from an outstanding squad is a tough choice, but I think there were three players in particular who deserve special praise.
The definition of a warrior, Behrami had one of his best years in a Switzerland shirt. He became the first-ever Swiss player to feature at four World Cups, and produced an incredible performance against Brazil, earning huge praise for how he contained Selecao star Neymar (pictured).
Alongside Granit Xhaka, Behrami formed a formidable defensive midfield partnership, and had an outstanding World Cup. It was a real shame to see him retire in the summer, as he was an absolute asset to the team- Der Kämpfer will be missed.
Switzerland’s number one saved his team on so many occasions, making 12 saves in Russia in an outstanding World Cup performance. Sommer was fantastic all year round, as match after match and save after save he performed for the Schweizer Nati.
Every single match he seemed to make an unbelievable stop. Now 30, Sommer seems to be entering the prime of his career, and I think that he is better than ever. He’s been Switzerland’s goalkeeper for four years, and looks like he can keep going for at least another four.
Xhaka has always been a key player for Switzerland, and his role in the side became even bigger as he began to take over as captain from Stephan Lichtsteiner. Despite criticism from former Swiss player Stéphane Henchoz, Xhaka was a fantastic leader for Switzerland and led by example.
He had an excellent year, with his highlight being his beautiful strike in the 2-1 win over Serbia. The game was heavily fuelled by political tension, and Xhaka showed how much the goal meant to him with his celebration (above). At 26-years-old, Xhaka has many years in a Swiss shirt ahead of him.
That’s the end of part one for now. To read part two when it’s released, click the link below. You can also read the rest of my Switzerland articles with the second link below, which included match previews and match reports.