Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Switzerlnd Greatest All-time team

World Cup 1994

Please also see my All-Time Team Index.


Switzerland did find some successes at the beginning of international football.  They won a silver medal at the 1924 Olympics, losing to the mighty Uruguay in the Final.  They reached the quarterfinal of the 1934 and 1938 World Cup Finals.  After the World War II, they managed to qualify for 6 World Cup Finals, reaching the second round 4 times.  In 1954, they made it to the quarterfinal as the host. In 2014, they beat the European Champion and eventual winner Spain at the opening match.

Switzerland and Austria were the co-hosts of UEFA Euro 2008, where the Swiss made their third appearance in the competition, but failed for a third time to progress from the group stage.  They then reached the semifinal of the 2019 Nations' League.   In 2021, they reached the quarterfinal of the European Championship.  They beat World Cup holder France in the round of sixteen before losing in a penalty shootout against Spain.

This is my all-time team for SwitzerlandIf there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. 
Switzerland 1954 World Cup Team
GK: Frank Sechehaye
Frank Sechehaye participated in the 1928 Summer Olympics and the 1934 FIFA World Cup. He played a total of 37 matches for Switzerland. He began his career with FC Thônex, before signing for Etoile-Carouge FC.  He then went to play in France with Club Français in Paris. He then returned to Switzerland to play with Servette FC from 1931 to 1934. He ended his career at FC Lausanne-Sport.

GK: Erich Burgener
Erich Burgener was capped 64 times for Switzerland between 1973 and 1986.  He was remembered for getting a goalless draw against England in Wembley in 1977. He started his club career with FC Raron. He played for Lausanne between 1970 and 1981.  He  moved to Servette FC in 1981 and remained there until 1987. At one match, he was used as forward and scored a goal.

Sommer played for Basel, where he won the Swiss Super League on four consecutive occasions before transferring to Mönchengladbach in 2014. He also won the Swiss Challenge League and two Liechtenstein Football Cups while on loan to Vaduz.
Sommer made his debut for Switzerland in 2012. He represented the nation at the World Cup in 2014 and 2018, and the  European Championship in 2016 and 2020.

RB:  Severino Minelli
Severino Minelli was considered one of the best European rightbacks in history.  He was capped 80 times for Switzerland at a time because he played in the Central European International Cup.  He played in the 1934 and 1938 WC Finals.  In 1938, Switzerland knocked out Germany, a team boosted by additional Austrian players in the first round. For his club career, he played for FC Zurich, Grasshopper and Serviette FC.  
Minelli on the right

RB: Stephan Lichtsteiner
Since 2006, Stephan Lichtsteiner has earned over 90 caps.  He had played in Euro 2008, the World Cup Finals in 2010, 2014 and 2018.  He played for Grasshopper Zurich in Switzerland and Lille in France.  He moved to Italy in 2008, joining first Lazio and then, Juventus in 2011. At the time of writing, he is considered one of the best right wingback playing in Serie A.  

CB: Stephane Henchoz 
Stephane Henchoz was capped 72 times and played at both European Champions of 1996 and 2004.  At the club level, he began his professional career in Switzerland.  He played successfully with Hamburger SV and Blackburn Roves before joining Liverpool. He was best remembered for playing over 5 years with Liverpool. In 2000-2001 season, Liverpool won the Cup tremble(the FA Cup, the League Cup and the UEFA Cup).
Stephane Henchoz 
CB: Rudolf Ramseyer
Ramseyer had played 59 times for Switzeland between 1920 to 1931. He earned a large number of caps because of Switzerland's participation of the Central European International Cup. He went to the Olympics in 1924 and 1928.  In 1924, he played 6 matches as Switzerland won the silver medal.  He played with BSC Young Boys and FC Bern. He won a league title with BSC Young Boys in 1919-1920 season.

CB: Oliver Eggimann
Eggimann had 44 caps between 1941 and 1955.  He made his debut against Germany in 1941. played for Switzerland in the 1950 and 1954 FIFA World Cup, Finals where Switzerland was the host in 1954. For his club career, he also played for BSC Young Boys, FC Lausanne-Sport, Servette FC, ES FC Malley, and FC La Chaux-de-Fonds.

CB: Alain Geiger
Alain Geiger is the second most-capped players in Swiss football history with 112 caps.  He made his debut in 1980 against England. He was the captain at both the 1994 World Cup Finals and European Championship in 1996.  At the club level, he started with FC Sion in 1977.  He spent most of his career playing in Switzerland with a brief spell playing for AS Saint-Étienne in France between 1988 and 1990.  He also played for Grasshopper, Neuchâtel Xamax and Servette FC.
Alain Geiger
LB: Willi Steffen
Originally, Steffen came to England to study English in 1946. He ended up signing with Chelsea and became the first Swiss to play in England. He played 20 league and cup games for Chelsea during the 1946-47 season. He returned to Switzerland after a year to join the army.  He played for Young Boy Bern between 1950 and 1958.  He was capped 28 times.  He went to the 1950 WC Finals.
Rodríguez began his career at FC Zürich in 2010. He was sold to VfL Wolfsburg in 2012 for £7.5 million. He played 184 games across all competitions for Wolfsburg, scoring 22 goals and winning the DFB-Pokal and DFL-Supercup in 2015. In 2017, he signed for Milan.  Since 2011, he has earned over eighty caps for the country. He went to the World Cup in 2014 and 2018, and the European Championship in 2016 and 2020. In 2014, he was voted Swiss Footballer of the Year.

DM:  Johann Vogel
Vogel was capped 94 times between 1995 and 2007.   He has played in Euro 1996, Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup Finals. He was the captain at the 2006 World Cup Finals. He started with Grasshopper at home. He was best remembered for his 5 seasons with PSV Eindhoven. In 2004-2005, PSV reached the semifinal of the Champions' league.  He also had brief spells with AC Milan, Real Betis and Blackburn Rovers.

CM: Ciriaco Sforza
Ciriaco Sforza was one of the best Swiss players in the modern era. He went to the 1994 World Cup Finals and Euro 1996 for Swizterland.  In 1993, after winning the "Swiss footballer of the Year" award, he moved abroad to play in Germany. He was probably best remembered for his three separated stints with Kaiserslautern.  In his second stint, they won the Bundesliga in 1998, the season after they returned to the Bundesliga from the lower division.  In between his two stints, he played with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan.
Ciriaco Sforza
CM: Heinz Hermann
Heinz Hermann is the most capped player in Swiss football history.  He won 5 straight Swiss Footballer of the Year between 1984 and 1988.  On 1 July 1977 Heinz Hermann joined from FC Seefeld Zürich to Grasshopper Club Zürich, where he became Swiss league champion four times and cup champion once. At the end of the season 1984/1985 he moved to Neuchâtel Xamax, and he later played for Servette FC and FC Aarau. However, he played in a major international tournament.

Granit Xhaka began his career at Basel. He then moved to Bundesliga team Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2012. He was made captain of Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2015 at the age of 22. He moved to Arsenal in 2016.  In 2022, he moved to Chicago Fire in MLS. He has considered to play for Albania due to his Kosovar Albanian.  He has represented Switzerland since 2011. He played in Euro 2016, the World Cup 2018 and Euro 2020. He helped Swizterland into the semi-final of Nations' League in 2019. He had over 100 caps.
Granit Xhaka 
RW: Charles Antenen
Nicknamed Kiki, Antenen was capped 56 times and played in three World Cup Finals: 1950, 1954, 1962.  Antenen played for FC La Chaux-de-Fonds from 1945 to 1952 and then, again from 1954 to 1965, winning three Swiss championships and six Swiss Cups. It was the greatest period for the club. In between his two stints, He also played for Lausanne Sports for a season between 1953 and 1954.

LW:  Jacques Fatton
Born in France, he was capped 53 times and scored 28 goals for Switzerland.  He played in two World Cups, scoring twice in 1950 and once in 1954.  He spent most of his career with Servette FC, but he went to play for Olympique Lyonnais in 1954. With the Olympique Lyonnais, he played 83 games , scoring 33 goals. The fans remembered him for scoring twice in the derby against AS Saint-Etienne in 1954.

FW: Alexander Frei
Alexander Frei is the all-time leading scorer for Switzerland.  He played for Euro 2004, the 2006 World Cup Finals, Euro 2008, and the 2010 WC Finals.  He began his career at FC Basel. He played with Rennes in France and with Borussia Dortmund in Germany.  In France,  he was the league top scorer in the 2004-2005 season. In 2009, he returned to FC Basel, where he won the Swiss Super League in all 4 of his seasons, including doubles with the Swiss Cup in 2010 and 2012. 
Alexander Frei
FW:  Josef Hugi
Josef Hugi was capped 34 times for the Swiss national team between 1951 and 1960, scoring 22 goals. Playing the 1954 World Cup at home soil, he scored six goals, tied second-best for the tournament, which makes him the all-time top goalscorer for Switzerland in World Cups. Starting in 1948, he spent 14 seasons with Basel. In 1962, he played 2 games for FC Zurich before heading to FC Laufen.

ST: Kubilay Turkyilmaz
Of Turkish descent, once Kubilay Turkyilmaz refused to play against Turkey because of his ethnic background.  He played with AC Bellinzona and Servette FC at home before he joined Bologna FC in 1990 and Galatasaray in 1993.  In 1995 he returned to Switzerland with Grasshopper Zurich, winning the league twice. Capped over 60 times.  He missed the 1994 World Cup Finals in USA through an injury. He played at the Euro 1996. He was at one point the all-time top-scorer for Switzerland. 
Kubilay Turkyilmaz
Andre Abegglen played in the 1934 World Cup, but probably best-remembered for scoring a hat-trick in the 1938 World Cup against Germany, in which was won by Switzerland 4–2. The game eliminated Germany, a team that included Austrian players as a result of Anschluss.  For club football, he scored 83 goals in 82 matches for Grasshopper.  He later played for Sochaux, where he was the league champion in 1935 and 1938, and was the top goalscorer of the 1935.

Throughout his career, Abegglen played for FC Lausanne until 1923 when he transferred to Grasshopper Zurich. He was the brother of André 'Trello' Abegglen and Jean Abegglen. Abegglen played for the Switzerland 68 times, scoring 34 goals. He was the all-time leading goalscorer for the team until Kubilay Türkyilmaz's 34th goal in his 62nd and final international in 2001. 

ST: Stephane Chapuisat 
Stephane Chapuisat was selected as Switzerland's UEFA's Jubilee Golden Player.   He was also voted Swiss Footballer of the Year four times (1992, 1993, 1994 and 2001).  At the international level, he played 103 times for Switzerland between 1989 and 2004.  He went to the 1994 World Cup  Finals, Euro 1996 and Euro 2004. For his club career, he played notably for Borussia Dortmund between 1991 and 1999.  He won the Champions' league in 1997 and back-to-back Bundesliga in 1995 and 1996.
Stephane Chapuisat 
Honorable Mention
Erwin Ballabio, Diego Benaglio, Hans Pulver, Andy Egli, Ramon Vega, Pirmin Stierli, Murat Yakin, Patrick Müller, André Neury, Alan Sutter, Adrian Knup, Hakan Yakin, Gökhan Inler, Robert Ballaman, Köbi Kuhn, Sirio Vernati. Alfred Bickel, Thomas Bickel,  Xherdan Shaqiri, Umberto Barberis, Paul Sturzenegger,  René Botteron, Marc Hottiger, Andy Egli, Ramon Vega.

Squad Explanation
--  The team needed an update after Switzerland advanced to the quarterfinal of the European Championship in 2021.  I completely redid this on October, 2021. 
-- Josef Hugi was sometimes listed as their greatest footballer.  I personally think Stephane Chapuisat was an undisputed selection.  I watched plenty of him when he was with Borussia Dortmund. 
-- IFFHS created their all-time dream team for Switzerland.  Their Best XI as as followed: Erwin Ballabio, Severino Minelli, Alain Geiger, André Egli, Rudolf Ramseyer, Karl Odermatt, Georges Bregy, Ciriaco Sforza, Alain Sutter, Stéphane Chapuisat and Max "Xam" Abegglen.  Josef Hugi was missing from the team.
-- During the 1938 World Cup Finals, Switzerland beat Germany 4-2. Notably, the German team consisted of Austrian players due to the Anschluss. This victory remains one of Switzerland's most significant achievements in football history. Severino Minelli led the Swiss team as captain, while Andre Abegglen showcased his remarkable skills by scoring a hat trick. German-born Alfred Bickel also featured in the match, alongside Erwin Ballabio, who served as the backup goalkeeper. Bickel, whose background remains unknown to me, holds the distinction of being one of two players to participate in World Cup Finals both before and after the War. It is worth mentioning that both Bickel and Ballabio were part of the team I formed in 2014, but I made the decision to exclude them when I revised the team in 2021.
-- Switzerland won the Silver medal at the 1924 Olympics.  Max Abegglen and Rudolf Ramseyer were the only members who made this team.  Max Abegglen who scored 6 goals in the tournament is the brother of Andre Abegglvn who scored the hat trick against Germany in the 1938 World Cup Finals.
-- Switzerland hosted the 1954 World Cup Finals, where they advanced to the second round for the first time.  They beat Italy in the process.  Josef Hugi scored 6 goals in the tournament.  He finished joint second at the top scoring table.  He remained Switzerland's highest goal scoring in the WC Finals.
-- Roy Hodgson led Switzerland to the 1994 World Cup Finals with only a single defeat in the qualifying round. Switzerland rose to 3rd in the FIFA World Ranking in August 1993, which still remains their highest FIFA ranking to this day.  During the Finals, Switzerland secured a convincing 4-1 victory over Romania, a formidable team in 1994. Key players such as Ciriaco Sforza and Stephane Chapuisat contributed to their success, while Kubilay Turkyilmaz unfortunately missed out on the Finals due to injury.
 -- Switzerland reached the semi-final of the 2019 Nations' League as well as the quarterfinal of the Euro 2020. Those were Switzerland's best results in international football.  The current generation (as of 2021) is considered to be their Golden Generation.  After Euro 2021, I added Yann Sommer, Granit Xhaka and Ricardo Rodriguez to this all-time team.
-- Historically, Switzerland was not particularly renowned for their goalkeepers. In my original team selection, I included Frank Sechehaye, Erwin Ballabio, and Erich Burgener. However, in 2021, I made the decision to replace Ballabio with Yann Sommer. Sommer had already established himself as a top-class goalkeeper in the Bundesliga. He was named in the Bundesliga Team of the Year for the 2019-2020 season. Sommer's skills were clearly demonstrated in the Euro 2020 tournament. During the round of 16 match against France, Sommer exhibited his talent by saving a penalty from Kylian Mbappé during the penalty shoot-out, ultimately leading Switzerland to a thrilling 5-4 victory. Notably, Switzerland also advanced to the semifinals of the Nations' League, showcasing their continued success on the international stage.
Yann Sommer
-- I also seriously looked into Diego Benaglio who did well with Wolfsburg.
-- One German-Swiss website listed Erich Burgener at 17th for Switzerland's greatest footballers, which was the highest for a goalkeeper.  I took him over Erwin Ballabio.  Ballabio was capped 27 times for Switzerland.  The number of caps was limited due to the Second World War when international games were rare. He went to the WC Finals in 1938, but did not play.  For club football, he played for FC Grenchen from 1934 and 1956.  He started off as a defender.  His coach switched him to goalkeeper during a game when his team was losing 7-0.
-- Severino Minelli was considered one of the best European rightbacks in history. He was voted Switzerland Player of the Century according to rsssf.com. Stephan Lichtsteiner had solidified his reputation as one of the top defenders in Serie A. His contributions were instrumental in making Juventus one of the most formidable defensive units among club teams in Europe. His experience extended to the highest level of European competition, a feat that only a few Swiss players could boast of achieving.  
-- Leftback Willi Steffen became the first Swiss to play in England when he joined Chelsea in 1946.  I honored him for this milestone in Swiss football.  Then, Ricardo Rodriguez also got onto the team in the expense of  Pirmin Stierli after Euro 2020. In his career, Stierli played for SC Zug, FC Zurich and FC Neuchâtel Xamax in Switzerland.  He won 4 league titles with FC Zurich.  In the 1969-1970 season, he played a short period in Belgium with Anderlecht. He was capped 14 times between 1968 and 1974, making his debut against Austria in 1969. Rodriguez on the other hand was at one point considered the best leftback in the Bundesliga. 
 Ricardo Rodriguez
-- The Swiss have always had a preference for defending.  So the central defender position was tight.  The modern fans would consider Alain Geiger and Stephane Henchoz as Switzerland's greatest central defenders. Rudolf Ramseyer's name was frequently mentioned.
-- Stephane Henchoz had a long career in the Premiership.  He was part of Liverpool's treble in the 2000-01 season as they won the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup under Gerard Houllier.  Alain Geiger holds the distinction of being the second-most capped player in Swiss history. Geiger had the honor of captaining both the 1994 World Cup team and the 1996 European Championship team. 
-- The final selection for the central defender position came down to Olivier Eggimann, Patrick Muller, and Roger Bocquet. Bocquet stood out as a resolute and determined player, even insisting on competing in the 1954 World Cup despite battling a brain tumor. Fortunately, he underwent surgery and made a successful recovery. Ultimately, I opted for Eggimann as he appeared to be the most suitable choice for the role. Patrick Muller was the last defender to be dropped from the team, while Andy Egli, Ramon Vega, and Murat Yakin were also considered as potential options.
-- Murat Yakin is the elder brother of Hakan Yakin. His career was not as pre-eminent.  He only had 50 caps as opposed to Hakan's 80 caps.
-- Philippe Senderos was impressive as a young player for Arsenal. His career, however, was plagued with injured.  His career never took off.  What a pity! He is not on my honourable mention.
-- During the 1970s and 1980s, Switzerland endured a period marked by a relatively weaker generation of players.  Heinz Hermann was one player who faced challenges internationally due to the team's overall weakness during that time. Despite the circumstances, Hermann managed to etch his name in Swiss football history as the most capped player to date. He had an impressive streak of winning 5 consecutive Swiss Footballer of the Year awards from 1984 to 1988. Johann Vogel showcased his skills while playing for PSV, where he was honored with the prestigious Dutch Footballer of the Year title in 2001.  Gökhan Inler who had a good career playing in Italy only received an honorable mention.
Heinz Hermann
-- Ciriaco Sforza was disappointing with both Inter Milan and Bayern Munich, but his career was fine overall.  He was frequently mentioned as one of greatest Swiss footballers.  His career with Kaiserslautern was stunning.
-- Granit Xhaka was probably Switzerland's best player in the current generation, leading Switzerland to their first quarter-final of the European Championship in 67 years.  His name appeared frequently in some of the newer source for Switzerland's greatest players.  His career with Arsenal helped his selection.
--To fulfill the need for wide players in my team, I carefully chose Charles Antenen for the right wing (RW) position and Jimmy Fatton for the left wing (LW) position. Their abilities and contributions made them vital additions to the squad. While making these selections, I also recognized the remarkable talents of Robert Ballaman, a wing-forward who became a hero during the 1954 World Cup Finals. Although Ballaman's achievements were noteworthy, I decided to include him as an honorable mention.
-- Xherdan Shaqiri's career trajectory has seen him play for several prominent clubs in Europe, establishing himself as a widely recognized figure in the football world. His name often surfaces in discussions due to his stints at these clubs. While Shaqiri's success cannot be denied, his selection for the team was challenging due to the acknowledgment of certain weaknesses in his playing style, as acknowledged by modern fans. On the other hand, my knowledge regarding Charles Antenen is limited, leaving me uncertain about his strengths and weaknesses as a player. Consequently, this has created a sense of indecisiveness in choosing between Shaqiri and Antenen for the team.
-- Robert Ballaman earned 50 caps and scored 18 goals for Switzerland. He played in the 1954 World Cup on home soil, where he scored 4 goals and Switzerland reached the quarterfinals.  He started with FC Reconvilier in 1941 at age 15. He played a total of 14 seasons in the Nationalliga A with FC Biel-Bienne, Grasshopper Club Zürich and FC Winterthur, scoring 271 league goals.
-- Alan Sutter had a good World Cup Finals in 1994, but his career with Bayern Munich did not go too well.  So he only made honourable mention.  I also did not have room for Köbi Kuhn from the 1966 World Cup team.
-- Max Abegglen was the highest goalscorer in Switzerland's history from 1937 to 2001. Kubilay Turkyilmaz finally equaled his record of 34 goals in 2001.  Since then, Alexander Frei has overtook both players. He scored 42 times in 84 games (once for every two games). I took all three of them.  
Max Abegglen
-- Many websites listed Andre Abegglen as Switzerland's greatest ever player while some listed his brother Max as the greatest.  I actually believed that some people got confused over them.  Both should be among the greatest Swiss players. So I decided to take both.  
-- Stephane Chapuisat was selected as Switzerland's UEFA's Jubilee Golden Player.  He also won the Champions' League in 1997 with Borussia Dortmund.  He was Swiss Player of the Year 3 years in a row.
--The last two players dropped were Karl Odermatt and Alfred Bickel. Both were on my original team I created in 2014.  Alfred Bickel played 405 matches and scored 202 goals in the Swiss first division from 1935 to 1956, a period during which he won 7 league titles and 9 cup titles with Grasshopper.  He played for Switzerland from 1936 to 1954, earning 71 caps. He went to the World Cup Finals in both 1938 and 1950.  He is one of only two footballers ever to participate in World Cups before and after World War II.  Meanwhile,  Karl Odermatt is considered the best ever player for Basel.  He played during Basel's golden years under manager Helmut Benthaus. He earned 50 caps. He also went to the World Cup in 1966 and and played in all three games.  
-- Murat Yakin is the elder brother of Hakan Yakin.  Both brothers only made honorable mention. 
Starting lineup
Formation: 4-4-2



  1. Kuhn, Barberis, Botteron… need to be mentioned.

  2. Mate, Minelli was sweeper in Verrou, not right-back.

  3. Brave and good decision with Shaquiri. But captain Xhaka needs to be in the 11, even if as goalkeeper

  4. Séchehaye
    Lichtsteiner Fabian-Schär Minelli Rodríguez
    A.Bickel Hermann M.Abegglen Fatton

    Schär is a personal favorite.
    Vernati was one of the best players in the Mitropa Cup. He was also invited for an EU allstar match. He naturalized at the age of 29 and got 35 caps still.
    Alfred Bickel was known as the god of the wing.
    Max Abegglen was an inside forward.