World Cup: Switzerland lean on youth with Bundesliga-heavy roster for Brazil
They're led by one of the most experienced managers in the tournament, but rising European contenders Switzerland have emphasized youth in the World Cup roster released on Tuesday.
Just one player older than age 30 has been selected by coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who will retire following Brazil 2014 after six years at the helm of the Rossocrociati.
Hitzfeld's team were one of the surprise successes of UEFA qualifying, playing well enough to vault past several established powers in the FIFA World Rankings and thus earn seeded status for the World Cup draw.
Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri is the star attraction of a squad pulled largely from Germany's Bundesliga. Many observers will recognize names like Johan Djourou, Philippe Senderos and Tranquillo Barnetta, all veterans of Europe's top club competitions, while the Napoli-based trio of Valon Behrami, Blerim Dzemaili and Gokhan Inler have enjoyed success in Italy's Serie A.
The Swiss will compete in Group E in Brazil, opening their campaign against Ecuador on June 15. They meet France in Salvador five days later, then close out the group round with a trip to Manaus to meet Honduras on June 25.
Complete Switzerland squad:
Johan Djourou (Hamburg SV - Germany/27yrs)
Michael Lang (Grasshoppers- Switzerland/23yrs)
Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus - Italy/30yrs)
Ricardo Rodriguez (VfL Wolfsburg - Germany/21yrs)
Fabian Schaer (FC Basel - Switzerland/22yrs)
Philippe Senderos (Valencia - Spain/29yrs)
Steve von Bergen (Young Boys - Switzerland/30yrs)
Reto Ziegler (Sassuolo - Italy/28yrs)
Tranquillo Barnetta (Eintracht Frankfurt - Germany/28yrs)
Valon Behrami (Napoli - Italy/29yrs)
Blerim Dzemaili (Napoli - Italy/28yrs)
Gelson Fernandes (Freiburg - Germany/27yrs)
Gokhan Inler (Napoli - Italy/29yrs)
Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich - Germany/22yrs)
Valentin Stocker (FC Basel - Switzerland/25yrs)
Granit Xhaka (Borussia Moenchengladbach - Germany/21yrs)