Switzerland’s solitary previous appearance in this tournament was at Russia 2006, where a young and inexperienced team packed for home after the group phase. The Swiss fell 4-2 to Mexico, 4-0 to eventual trophy winners Korea DPR, and 6-0 to then holders Germany.
Impressive evidence of a surge in standards in Swiss women’s football came at the UEFA Women’s U-19 Championship 2009 in Belarus, where the team raised eyebrows across the continent and booked a place at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup by reaching the semi-finals. A very attacking generation must now prove that achievement was no flash in the pan.
A lot rests on the form showed by star striker Ramona Bachmann, still only young but already rated one of the best in Europe, and who recently left top Swedish outfit Umea IK for US pro league (WPS) club Atlanta Beat. Bachmann hit the headlines with a string of goals in Belarus, and her team now needs a repeat performance on the world stage in Germany.
The current generation of youngsters coached by Yannick Schwery represents Switzerland’s greatest hope of joining the global women’s footballing elite in the future. This summer’s finals in Germany offer Bachmann and company a superb chance to gain experience and take another step forwards. An impressive 3-0 victory over their German counterparts at the continental U-19 event last year hinted at hugely promising reserves of potential.
Facts and figures
Vanessa Buerki, Martina Moser, Ramona Bachmann (2006)
Danique Stein (defence), Ramona Bachmann (attack), Ana Maria Crnogorcevic (attack)
30 – Captain Danique Stein scored against Germany at the UEFA Women’s U-19 Championship with a phenomenal 30-metre free-kick – and to add to the celebrations, it was on her 19th birthday.