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By user Bobo
Switzerland, having had an undefeated record in the qualifying stages, would have been majorly robbed had they not have qualified as one of the "lucky losers". In a group including Cyprus and the Faroe Islands, it was clear that second place would be between any one of three teams, themselves, the Israelis, and the Republic of Ireland.
Having secured a place after seeing the Faroe Islanders succumb to Israel, and themselves achieving a monumental tie against Turkey, the previous tournament's third-placed finishers, they now find themselves stuck in a group whose matches consist of one each against France, Togo and South Korea.
Their coach, the Zurich-born former international Köbi Kuhn, took over the role of manager in June 2001 and has since qualified for Euro 2004 and this World Cup tournament. Some of their current players include British-based Stéphane Henchoz (currently at Wigan Athletic) and Philippe Senderos, the young Arsenal defender.
It's not easy to predict how Switzerland are going to do. They tend to either bomb out, or get to the quarter finals of tournaments. They are certainly relieved to qualify automatically as hosts for the 2008 European Championship, but with their first World Cup match against France, it's difficult to say what's going to happen, remembering of course what happened last time France were in the World Cup.
With their game against Togo likely to be a shoo-in, it's just a case of how they perform against South Korea, the last tournament's co-hosts and surprise semi-finalists. That said, they have never reached beyond the Quarter Finals of any World Cup, and have never proceeded past the first round of European Championship competition. This looks like the best tournament for several years in which the Swiss can rapidly and comfortably progress into at least the knockout stages.