URUGUAY’S Diego Godin (R) takes part in a training session with team-mates at Al Erssal on Wednesday.—AFP
URUGUAY’S Diego Godin (R) takes part in a training session with team-mates at Al Erssal on Wednesday.—AFP

AL RAYYAN: Switzer­land manager Murat Yakin said on Wednesday the current nat­i­onal team is the “best that ever existed” and is determined to reach the later stages of the World Cup.

Switzerland, who will play their opener against Came­roon on Thursday, have progressed from the group stage in three of their last four tournaments.

Yakin, who took the reins last year after Switzerland’s run to the Euro 2020 quarter-finals, predicted the country would have its best showing at any World Cup in Qatar, where they will also face Brazil and Serbia in Group ‘G’.

“I think that we are seeing the best Swiss national team that has ever existed,” Yakin told a news conference.

“We have improved a lot and now we want to write history. We are not only here to participate. We are here to win and we want to get to the next round.”

Captain Granit Xhaka, the Arsenal midfielder, was hesitant to describe the squad in the same way, saying it would not be fair to the 2018 Swiss team that was eliminated by Sweden in the round of 16.

He said, however, the Swiss team now was younger than it was four years ago and maybe “a little more hungry” to go far in the tournament.

Although Cameroon are considered the least likely side in the group to reach the round of 16, the attacking talent of Napoli’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa has the pote­ntial to destabilise the Swiss.

“We know that Cameroon have very good individual players who perform at a top level,” Xhaka said. “It’s a team that can be very dangerous if we let them play.”

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2022

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