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 looked 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.
GAME OF THE YEAR
Switzerland 5-2 Belgium, 18 November 2018
Needing to win by two clear goals to qualify for the Nations League Finals, Switzerland hosted unbeaten Belgium, who were the highest ranked side in the world.
It couldn’t have started any worse for the Swiss, finding themselves 2-0 down in 17 minutes. With all hope of qualification seemingly extinguished, they didn’t give up and produced an incredible comeback.
Goals from Ricardo Rodríguez, Nico Elvedi and a hat trick from Haris Seferović secured a 5-2 win for the Schweizer Nati, in an incredible 90 minutes of football.
It is a game that will live long in the memories of all Swiss fans including myself, as Petković guided Switzerland to the first ever Nations League Finals in an absolutely unbelievable night at the Swissporarena.
LOWLIGHT OF THE YEAR
Sweden 1-0 Switzerland, 3 July
To honestly review the year, I have to look at the painful moments as well as the joyful ones. For this you have to go back to July, when Switzerland were knocked out of the World Cup in the Round of 16.
Sweden were triumphant in St. Petersburg, thanks to Emil Forsberg’s deflected shot in the 66th minute. It was an agonising defeat, as the Schweizer Nati’s time in Russia was up.
The worst part of the result was that it was a hugely missed opportunity. Switzerland had an amazing chance to reach the World Cup Quarter-Finals for the first time in 64 years, with an incredibly talented pool of players. However it wasn’t to be for the Swiss, as the Swedes sent Petković’s side packing.
MY HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR
Serbia 1-2 Switzerland, 22 June
This was not only my highlight of the year for Switzerland, but in seven years of going to games it was my favourite football game I have ever seen live.
I was lucky enough to go to my first World Cup, as I travelled to Kaliningrad to see the Schweizer Nati take on Serbia. However it couldn’t have started any worse, as Aleksandar Mitrović gave Serbia the lead after five minutes.
Despite going behind early, Switzerland didn’t give up and fought back through Granit Xhaka’s fantastic strike and Xherdan Shaqiri’s cool 90th minute finish. Their celebrations showed how much it meant to them, as they made the Albanian eagle in a huge political statement on the biggest stage.
I could write pages upon pages about that night in Kaliningrad, but to sum it up in one sentence- it was the best moment of my year and possibly my life, I’m so grateful I got to live that experience which I will never ever forget.
So, what does 2019 have in store? Switzerland will play 10 competitive games across the year, excluding any potential friendlies that will be set up throughout the year.
The main focus of 2019 will be the EURO 2020 Qualifiers, where they are in a group with the likes of Denmark and the Republic of Ireland. They then face the inaugural Nations League Finals in June, when they face host nation Portugal.
I personally can’t wait for it all, and if 2018 showed me anything it’s that I can look forward to the future. Switzerland have a strong squad set up with dozens of young players, who will continue to play for years to come.
It’s been an incredible year for the Schweizer Nati, where I can say that we’ve got an exciting and prospectus 2019 ahead of us. And of course, I’ll be following them every step of the way, supporting the Swiss with pride.
Bring it on.