Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

Euro 2016

Switzerland: 12 nations, one team

By Thomas Stephens and Kai Reusser

Switzerland's Bosnia-born manager Vladimir Petkovic with his multicultural squad at a photo shoot (Keystone)

Switzerland's Bosnia-born manager Vladimir Petkovic with his multicultural squad at a photo shoot


The Euro 2016 football championships have kicked off in Paris and Switzerland are once again the most multicultural of the 24 teams taking part. Of the 23-man squad and manager, only nine do not have a so-called migration background. 

After sitting out the 2012 tournament (they failed to qualify), the boys in red and white are back on the European stage and boasting talent born in countries including Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Kosovo. 

If managers are included, Switzerland and France both have 15 team members with a migration background – although Switzerland have twice the number of players who were born abroad than France, according to data from online bookmaker NetBet. 


While a third of the Swiss squad do not have an immigration background, another third hails from the former Yugoslavia. Four players alone have roots in Kosovo, which became a full member of UEFA, European football’s governing body, on May 3. What this will mean for Switzerland remains to be seen. Indeed, in an unusual situation, there will probably be two players with “Xhaka” on their shirt in the first match on Saturday: Granit will be playing for Switzerland while his brother Taulant will be playing for opponents Albania. 

So how does this multiculturalism convert into winning chances? In their previous three Euro appearances (1996, 2004 and 2008) Switzerland never made it out of the group stage. While this time they should make it out of their relatively easy group (they drew France, Romania and Albania), the bookmakers are making them 66-1 to lift the trophy on July 10.

The Swiss squad

Manager: Vladimir Petkovic 

Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer, Roman Bürki, Marwin Hitz 

Defenders: Johan Djourou, Nico Elvedi, Michael Lang, Stephan Lichtsteiner, François Moubandje, Ricardo Rodriguez, Fabian Schär, Steve von Bergen 

Midfielders: Valon Behrami, Blerim Dzemaili, Gelson Fernandes, Fabian Frei, Granit Xhaka, Denis Zakaria 

Forwards: Eren Derdiyok, Breel Embolo, Admir Mehmedi, Xherdan Shaqiri, Haris Seferovic, Shani Tarashaj

Sign up for our free newsletter and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.




All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.