It's a nice little country, very green and clean, mostly quiet and keeps to itself, where no major turmoil has been registered for the last few decades. Well, OK, for as far as anybody can remember. The country's most famous sons and daughters are tennis stars Roger Federer and Martina Hingis, movie stars Ursula Andress and Renee Zellweger (who was born in Texas, but her father is Swiss, so it counts), Wilhelm Tell and Heidi. The last two are a fiction, of course, but in a way, they define Switzerland. Football Stars? Can anyone name a Swiss football star?
There may not be a Swiss football star in the mold of Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham or Raul, but Swiss footballers are all over Europe, some of them are playing for the continent's elite clubs, a great majority of them play in the German Bundesliga. And when they put in the red and white uniforms, they form a pretty good national team.
And maybe one needs to look at Swiss football through the eyes of the Swiss Super league. In its current form, the league was established before the 2003/04 season and consists of 10 teams. Excluding three seasons, FC Basel won all league titles and played in the Champions League. League's MVP Award went to players, some of them foreign, who came, conquered and moved on, to bigger, richer and greener pastures.
The Swiss football national team – Schweizer Nati in German, La Nati in French and Squadra Nazionale in Italian (after all, we are in the Alps) – first played in the 1934 FIFA World Cup Italy, where it reached the quarter finals. It reached the same stage four years later in France and again in 1954, when Switzerland hosted the event. Farther appearances happened in USA 1994, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, all ended either in the group stage, or in the knockout round.
In 2006, Switzerland became the only national team in football history to be eliminated from World Cup tournaments without conceding a goal. The team finished its first game with France in a 0-0 draw and won 2-0 the matches over Togo and South Korea. It was eliminated after losing the knockout round match against Ukraine on penalty shootouts after 0-0 during the end of regulation.
Switzerland's most caped player is Heinz Herman with 118 appearances between 1978-1991. Alexander Frei is the top goal scorer with 42 goals in 82 matches. The Swiss national team was ranked anywhere from 3 to 83 in FIFA world rankings.
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