Switzerland – which was ranked an unexpected seventh going into the draw for the 2014 Football World Cup in Brazil – will play against Ecuador, France and Honduras in the first round of the championships, which kick off in Brazil on June 12.
Not generally considered a football superpower, Switzerland’s team – coached by Ottmar Hitzfeld – managed seven wins and three draws in October 2013, seeding it above Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal.
Hitzfeld said France was a tough first round opponent.
"There's one name, Franck Ribery, who can make the difference," said the Swiss coach. "Apart from him, there are other players who are very strong and we saw them have an exceptional game against Ukraine. The offensive strength was impressive."
But he said overall the group was "finely balanced".
Hitzfeld added that he might consider changing their training camp from near Sao Paulo because of its travel schedule, which includes Manaus.
"We have to think about it. We must adapt to the climatic conditions," he commented.
In the week leading up to the FIFA draw, Associated Press sports writer Graham Dunbar commented: “There is one certainty among many possibilities offered by the World Cup draw on Friday: Most teams want to be in Switzerland's group.”
Swiss football expert Alain Sutter said the draw was a good one for the Swiss team: “In my opinion it’s possible for Switzerland [to progress to the next round]."
On Friday, six years after being chosen to host what is one of the world’s most popular sporting events, Brazil hosted the final draw to determine which teams will play each other in the first round in June.
Twelve of Brazil’s largest cities are supplying venues for the various matches between the 32 qualifying teams, which begin June 12 and end July 13. Switzerland’s first game will be played against Ecuador on June 15.