Diego Benaglio of Wolfsburg is a solid keeper in the net and should be considered one of the better players on the team in general. He will need to be ready to lead the team with a group that offers one of the most productive South American offenses in Chile and Spain has been known to do some damage as well. Benaglio gives Switzerland hope on defense though.
Grade: C +
Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos of EPL clubs Everton and Arsenal will likely be the starters at center back and Ludovic Magnin is solid in the left back position. Lichsteiner of Lazio will also likely start at right back and Grichting, Eggimann, Degen, and Muller all have some international experience as well. Muller actually has over 80 caps in his career and leads the unit.
Gokhan Inler is the leader of the unit and the center midfielder is also probably the modern day star of the club’s lineup and is a leader of the attack. EPL player Valon Behremi will likey start out on the right wing and Tranquilo Barnetta has pretty good speed and should likely play on the other wing. Gelson Fernandez is a solid defensive midfielder and Benjamin Huggel is another nice defensive minded option.
Aging star forward Alexander Frei is still around for another go at the World Cup and the thirty year old forward is not only the captain of the Switzerland squad, but he is also the leading scorer of the squad’s history. Blaise Nkufo is another nice option at forward and the forward was a reliable secondary striker for the club over the WCQ. Hakan Yakin is likely backup at secondary striker, but Johan Vonlanthen might beat out Yakin for the honor of reserve minutes with Frei.
Grade: B –
With a solid keeper, a decent back line, an underrated midfield unit, and a duo up top that has played together for years, Switzerland is a seriously contender for the second round this Cup and the club has enough depth to be considered worthy of the quarterfinals. I still don’t think that Frei and Company will advance past the second round, but they will have to first focus on beating out an underrated Chile squad that earned a World Cup berth in a tough South American division.
Grade: C +
photo credit: 1suisse