Switzerland have named their squad for September’s Nations League fixtures, as they kick off their 2020/21 campaign.
The Schweizer Nati will be in action for the first time in 10 months, following the postponement of EURO 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. They will be keen to hit the ground running when they face Ukraine, ahead of a mouth-watering clash with Germany in Basel.
Vladimir Petković revealed his 23-man squad in a press conference on Friday, just six days before Switzerland open their Nations League campaign.
Switzerland are in Group A4 for the 2020/21 Nations League, making up what is surely the group of death. The Swiss will play Spain, Ukraine and Germany over the next few months, in what will be a tough run of fixtures and some huge tests for the Nati.
The most notable absence was undoubtedly Stephan Lichtsteiner, who announced his retirement earlier this month. The 36-year-old bowed out after 14 years with the national team, with the outgoing captain earning 108 caps throughout his international career.
With Lichtsteiner hanging his boots up, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka is the strong favourite to become Nati captain. The 27-year-old was vice-captain under Lichtsteiner, and returns to the squad just weeks after winning the FA Cup with the Gunners.
Petković has given debut callups to FC Zürich youngsters Becir Omeragić and Simon Sohm, handing a huge opportunity for the pair. The FCZ duo, who are 18 and 19 respectively, have been playing in the national team’s under-19 squad, and have now made it to the senior squad together.
Xherdan Shaqiri misses out again, despite his full involvement in Liverpool’s pre-season preparations. His absence may be due to the Reds playing in the Community Shield on Saturday, but it means that the 28-year-old has now missed Switzerland’s last six games.
Speaking on Shaqiri’s exclusion at his press conference (via Blick), Petkovic said: “I was in contact with Xherdan the whole time. He trained fully with Liverpool, felt good. Last Wednesday we wanted to discuss the next steps. Unfortunately, he was injured on Wednesday and slipped. So he was in no condition to help us. Therefore, he is not called up.”
Five players drop out from the previous Nati squad in November 2019: Eray Cömert, François Moubandje, Edimilson Fernandes and the injured Denis Zakaria. However, the most notable omission in this regard is Cedric Itten, who misses out despite scoring three goals in his first two caps last November.
Petković will be eager to repeat previous success in the Nations League, after reaching the final four in their debut campaign. It was a huge achievement to reach the Nations League Finals in 2019, before being edged out by eventual champions Portugal and England.
Switzerland open their Nations League campaign in Lviv, where they face Ukraine on 3rd September. It is the perfect opportunity for belated revenge, after the Ukrainians knocked them out on penalties in the 2006 World Cup.
Three days later, the Nati have an enticing clash with Germany at St. Jakob-Park in Basel. It will be a huge challenge against the 2014 world champions, as the Swiss hope to record a famous result against Joachim Löw’s men.
SWITZERLAND SQUAD IN FULL
|Goalkeepers||Yann Sommer; Yvon Mvogo; Jonas Omlin|
|Defenders||Ricardo Rodríguez; Michael Lang; Manuel Akanji; Loris Benito; Nico Elvedi; Becir Omeragić; Kevin Mbabu; Silvan Widmer|
|Midfielders||Granit Xhaka; Michel Aebischer; Christian Fassnacht; Simon Sohm; Djibril Sow; Renato Steffen; Ruben Vargas; Steven Zuber|
|Forwards||Albian Ajeti; Breel Embolo; Mario Gavranović; Haris Seferović|
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