After failing to qualify for the last two editions Switzerland claimed a place in Germany. In their last appearance in USA 1994 they made it to the round of 16 but fell 3-0 against runner-up Italy.
In the qualifying stage before the play-off second-leg defeat by Turkey, the Swiss had gone a full year and 14 straight games without defeats; evidence of the growing strength of a team that includes players who attracted rave reviews at various under-age levels. Their line-up in the play-offs featured Tranquillo Barnetta and Philippe Senderos, both of whom claimed UEFA European U-17 Championship honors in 2002.
This is a very young athletic Swiss team that can be a pleasant surprise for soccer fans this summer in Germany as they face France, Korea Republic and Togo in their group stage.
But meanwhile, they have a few friendly matches among them they will face Italy one of the clear contenders for the title in Germany.
In other news coach Kobi Kuhn left out Swiss star Hakan Yakin of his 23 man squad for the tournament. Allegedly Yaking suffered a groin injury that left him out of playing for a few weeks. He has recovered now but unfortunately won't be traveling to Germany. "Yakin is a talented player, but we have a lot of other talented players to choose from," Kuhn told reporters after naming his squad on Monday.
Now on to Italy that also has one of the best teams in a while. They'll be traveling to Switzerland to prepare last minute details before the World Cup.
Germany 2006 will mark Italy's 16th appearance at FIFA World Cup finals, making Sweden 1958 the only final they did not grace with their presence. Following their successes in 1934 and 1938, Italy lifted the FIFA World Cup for the third time in Spain 1982 thanks largely to an outstanding performance by striker Paolo Rossi.
Lead by Totti, Cassano and Pirlo that are currently big names in Europe's soccer scene. Italy will face Switzerland May 31st in Geneva; it will be a good match between these two teams that might resemble the round of 16 back in USA 94' which the Italian team got the victory.
Germany 2006 will be the opportunity for Italy to get back in soccer scene as one of the best, since USA 94'. They haven't been to the final in competition in a while and they now they have the opportunity for a come back, though it won't be an easy road but they have the talent and the willingness to do it.
If you like sports betting this will be a great opportunity to follow the performance of both teams towards the World Cup and make your picks once the competition starts.
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WagerWeb.com Contributing Writer .