After missing out on the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™ and the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan, Switzerland finally claimed a place at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in neighbouring Germany after coach Jakob "Kobi" Kuhn's men emerged triumphant from a dramatic play-off double header against Turkey.
The Swiss made the second round in their previous FIFA World Cup appearance at USA 1994, and duly emulated that feat in 2006. However, defeat to Ukraine on penalties meant their campaign again ended in the last sixteen, although they had not conceded a single goal in regular or extra-time in any game up to that point.
The Swiss squad boasts a healthy blend of experienced stalwarts and ambitious young hopefuls. Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta and Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos are the best-known internationally from a clutch of talented starlets, while Alexander Frei is a former leading scorer in the French Ligue 1 and has since earned many admirers in the German Bundesliga.
After a playing career featuring 63 caps and six domestic championships with FC Zurich, 'Kobi' Kuhn took the national helm in June 2001. Before stepping up to the senior role, he tasted coaching success with his country's U-21 side. As joint hosts, Switzerland were not obliged to qualify for UEFA EURO 2008, but will set off in search of a berth at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa after that in what would be a ninth appearance at the FIFA World Cup finals.
Kuhn stepped down as Switzerland coach in the wake of their failure to qualify for the EURO 2008 quarter-finals, and former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has been appointed in his place.