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Euro 2016 profile: Switzerland seeking show of strength

Can Switzerland's Shaqiri make a French impression? run the rule over a talented but also flawed Switzerland squad, who finished second to England in Euro 2016 qualifying.

We continue to profile all 24 teams at the Euro 2016 finals in France, so punters are clued up when it comes to the sides on show this summer.

Featuring this time are Switzerland, as Ladbrokes offer the Alpine outfit at 9/2 to win Group A ahead of hosts France, Albania and Romania. The Swiss boast a fairly star-studded roster, but suffered two recent friendly warm-up blows…

History at the Euros: ​La Nati’s European Championship record is modest to put it politely, as Switzerland first successfully qualified in 1996, and France will be just the fourth time they have appeared in the finals.

The archives do not flatter to deceive either, as the Swiss are yet to make it to the knockout stages having floundered in previous pools. Though, with such a talented current crop, La Nati are rated odds-on 1/2 chances to progress with 888Sport this time around.

Head coach: Vladimir Petkovic, also known as Il Dottore (the Doctor), is the Bosnian but naturalised Swiss boss in charge of thir hopes this summer, having been in the hotseat since summer 2014, when he was parachuted in as legendary Ottmar Hitzfeld’s replacement.

Petkovic’s previous managerial highlight was winning the 2013 Coppa Italia with fallen Serie A giants Lazio, though the gaffer was given the boot by the Roman outfit when his future Switzerland intentions were revealed.

Key player: Stoke City’s stocky but divinely skilful Xherdan Shaqiri was oft hailed as the ‘Alpine Messi’ in his youth, but has only truly made the jump from highly-rated attacking midfielder to key club protagonist since his summer switch to the Potters.

Always the lightning rod for his nation, however, the electric attacking midfielder is by far their biggest threat and all exciting play will go through him.

Rising star: This mantle is easily handed to explosive Basel frontman Breel Embolo, who could be catapulted to an elite European club if he performs in France.

The speedy and technical teenage talent has been tearing it up for the Swiss Super League champions this season, and could prove crucial as usual dangerman Josip Drmic looks set to miss the Euros with injury.

Wildcard: Everton-owned striker Shani Tarashaj​ could be another name in the frame for a call to France, after he nabbed his first caps in the recent friendlies versus the Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. With five goals in eight for the Under-21s and 12 strikes in 28 for Grasshopper Zurich this season, the 21-year-old could yet be on that plane.

Confirmed Italy Euro 2016 fixtures:
All kick-offs are British Summer time (BST)
Saturday, June 11th: Albania v Switzerland (14:00); Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens, BBC​
Wednesday, June 15th: Romania v Switzerland (17:00); Parc des Princes, Paris,ITV
Sunday, June 19th: Switzerland v France (20:00); Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille​. BBC

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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