Here it is, soccer fans. The Daily Caller’s Ultimate Master Guide To Everything You Ever Need To Know About The 2014 FIFA World Cup In Brazil.
Brace yourself for over a month’s worth of whining from the MLB/NFL/NBA purist who doesn’t understand the offside rule and insists the game “still sucks.” Prepare for some thoroughly embarrassing “expert” opinions from that guy in the bar who thinks the game was invented in 1992. And yes, there will more than likely be some tedious BuzzFeed listicles about the best player simulations, eccentric jerseys and players that look like cats.
All that aside, there should be some great entertainment on the field.
For the entirety of the tournament, Ewan Watt will be providing grizzled, foul-tempered Scottish punditry for The Daily Caller on everything you need to know about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. This will range from a comprehensive background on each team, short posts on the games, and some history, ranging from failed drug tests to a team’s struggle to understand the rules to why an Arab prince halted the game and got a referee’s decision overturned.
In the build up, we’ll be releasing guides to the different groups, so buckle in, study up and become the master you’ve always said you were anyway.
Overview: Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has enjoyed an illustrious career in club management. He joined Ernst Happel in becoming the second coach to win a European Cup with two different teams (three others have done it since), and is hoping for an impressive send-off before he retires after Brazil. With more quality at his disposal, especial in defense, the Swiss can look forward to, at the very least, an improvement from 2010.
Despite defeating eventual champions Spain four years ago in their opening match, Switzerland ultimately fell flat and was knocked out at the group stages in South Africa. This time around, Hitzfeld will be looking to avoid the same kind of complacency, particularly given the presence of Bayern’s Xherdan Shaqiri. Having qualified for Brazil undefeated, the Swiss have good reason to be optimistic in Brazil, even if their lack of scoring prowess continues to be a concern.
Given how goal-shy they can be, a lot of Switzerland’s progress at Brazil will depend on whether players like Haris Seferovic of Real Sociedad can step up on the world stage. Although he is just 22, the highly regarded Seferovic has perhaps fallen short of expectations for La Nati, although it’s hard to see where else the Swiss will find goals. Bottom line: The longer Hitzfeld’s retirement is delayed, the longer Switzerland is in the World Cup.
Best World Cup Performance: Quarter-final (1954)
FIFA Ranking: 6th
Best Players: Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich), Valon Behrami (Napoli), Granit Xhaka (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Philippe Senderos (Valencia), Fabian Schär (FC Basel), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus) and Haris Seferovic (Real Sociedad).
Most famous World Cup moment: Some might point to Switzerland’s shock defeat of Spain in their opening match of the 2010 World Cup, especially given that their opponents went on to win the tournament. But unlike the 1994 campaign, the joy was short lived. After a 28-year hiatus from the tournament, the Swiss returned to the World Cup under England’s current coach, Roy Hodgson.
Their opener against the hosts is widely remembered for this stunning free kick from specialist Georges Bregy. A tie against the United States was followed by a routing of Gheorge Hagi’s Romania (who reached the semi-finals), which included a fantastic piece of play by Ciriaco Sforza to set up Adrian Knup for Switzerland’s third goal.
… Most infamous: As World Cup hosts in 1954, the Swiss faced-off against neighbors Austria knowing that victory would take them through to the semi-finals. After just 19 minutes, the Swiss were three goals ahead and cruising, only to find themselves 4-3 down before half-time. In the sweltering heat, the game would finish 7-5 to Austria and become the highest scoring game ever played at a World Cup. The Swiss would also earn the ignominious honor of being the first team to surrender a three-goal lead at the tournament.
Sound like an expert: “Their performance four years ago ended in great disappointment after such a positive start. As he looks set to call it quits, will Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side be able to make amends?”