Fly high but stay grounded: the challenge for Switzerland at Euro 2020

Swiss footballers Granit Xhaka, left, and Xherdan Shaqiri do the Albanian double eagle against Serbia at the 2018 World Cup Keystone

When Euro 2020 finally kicks off on Friday, Swiss fans, politicians and officials will be hoping the country’s multicultural footballers can fulfil their potential without getting distracted by politics.

This content was published on June 9, 2021 - 09:00

An incident at the previous big international tournament, the 2018 World Cup, resulted in fines and resignations after Swiss players with Kosovar-Albanian backgrounds made the Albanian “double eagle” hand gesture after scoring against Serbia (pictured).

One of those fined, Granit Xhaka, is now the Swiss captain, and two-thirds of the 26-man squad have an immigration background.

Has manager Vladimir Petkovic, himself born in Bosnia, imbued the team with self-confidence and self-discipline? We’ll soon see, when the Swiss, currently ranked 13th in FIFA’s world rankings, take on Wales, Italy and Turkey in three tricky group matches, starting on Saturday, 3pm Swiss time.

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