Saturday, July 20, 2019

Switzerland have perfect football players – Hitzfeld predicts Nations League surprise

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 Jun 2019

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Former Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld feels their “outstanding” young players give them a chance of glory at the Nations League Finals.

Switzerland face Portugal in the last four on Wednesday having topped their group thanks to results including a 5-2 home defeat of World Cup semi-finalists Belgium.

Former Bayern Munich boss Hitzfeld was head coach between 2008 and 2014, leading the country to two World Cups.

But the 70-year-old German believes the next generation of Swiss talent has taken the team to new levels under successor Vladimir Petkovic.

“Switzerland have outstanding young players. They have very good players with foreign roots who are all perfect football players,” Hitzfeld told Omnisport.

“They have a good set up with [Fabian] Schar, [Yann] Sommer, [Granit] Xhaka, [Haris] Seferovic, or [Xherdan] Shaqiri. And [Breel] Embolo is on his way. They have great talents. Switzerland can do a great job in the coming years.

“Now, against Portugal, the chances are 50-50. They have played against Portugal many times and won some games, lost sometimes. They know how to beat Portugal. With the potential that Switzerland currently possesses, a victory in Portugal is also possible.”

In the other semi-final, England will take on a Netherlands side who have shown some resurgent form under Ronald Koeman.

“I think you have to count England among the favourites, because they just pulled up outstanding players from the junior teams,” Hitzfeld added. “And the young players who play in the Premier League, despite the many foreigners, they are already very good.

“But that is also a disadvantage for the young English players, that so much money has flowed to England and you have signed only foreign top stars.  But if you make the step then you have a really strong team and are on your way back to the top of the world.”

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