Sports Mole previews Sunday’s International Friendly clash between Switzerland and USA, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The international friendly fixture at St Gallen’s Kybunpark will also serve as a warm-up for the visitors’ upcoming CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup campaigns.
Before they tackle a European Championship group also featuring Italy, Turkey and Wales this summer, first Switzerland are set to play two home friendlies – against the United States and then versus neighbouring Liechtenstein.
Currently world-ranked 13th, the Swiss come into this first game of the summer on the back of a 3-2 friendly win over Finland in March – effectively the fourth successive victory for Vladimir Petkovic‘s side.
Having concluded their Nations League campaign with a default win over Ukraine last November, the Nati have since opened the World Cup qualifying process with six points from six, as they beat both Bulgaria and Lithuania in their opening fixtures this spring.
Petkovic has held his current position since July 2014 – winning 35 of his 68 games to date, while leading Switzerland to the last-16 of Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup in Russia – and will be keen to go at least one step further in the Euros.
In preparation, the Sarajevo-born coach has called up a 29-player preliminary squad for the pre-tournament friendlies, which will be whittled down to 26 shortly after Sunday’s game.
With a total of 12 players included from the ever-competitive German Bundesliga – including those such as Borussia Monchengladbach trio Breel Embolo, Denis Zakaria and goalkeeper Yann Sommer – he has a strong squad at his command, but is likely to give fringe players a last chance to impress this weekend.
Seeking to prepare for a busy summer ahead, the USA first encounter a national team against which they have won only once in their eight historic meetings – the most famous being their opening match of the 1994 World Cup on home soil: a 1-1 draw earning the US their first point at a World Cup for some 44 years.
Like the Swiss, several players in the squad named by head coach Gregg Berhalter earn their living in the Bundesliga, with Giovanni Reyna, John Brooks and Tyler Adams among those currently featuring in Germany’s top flight.
In fact, a largely Europe-based selection are preparing for the altitude of Denver, Colorado, where the US will join Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico next week for the Nations League semi-finals – then the final or a 3rd-place decider.
So, expected to fly halfway around the world by next Thursday’s match with Honduras – amid an intense period of three games in eight days – squad rotation is set to be a feature of Sunday’s friendly fixture.
Certainly, this match will present a significant challenge for a recently untested American side, which has primarily met only Central American and mid-tier European opponents over the past couple of years. Most recently, they defeated Northern Ireland 2-1 in March, through goals from Borussia Dortmund starlet Reyna and Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic.
Without doubt, though, Berhalter’s men will be more fully tested against a talented and experienced team in Switzerland – one which is heading into its own continental championship with ambitions to make the final eight.
Switzerland International Friendlies form:
Switzerland form (all competitions):
USA International Friendlies form:
Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic is expected to offer some less experienced faces an opportunity on Sunday, as he prepares to thin out his squad ahead of the Euros.
At some stage, Petkovic could hand debuts to goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, 20-year-old forward Dan Ndoye and Brighton striker Andi Zeqiri. However, Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Djibril Sow may not be risked, as he still has a niggling injury to shake off.
Meanwhile, another Bundesliga-based man, Tyler Adams (of RB Leipzig) is a doubt for the USA and is likely to be held back with some silverware on the line in the coming weeks.
Gregg Berhalter’s squad contains plenty of other European experience though, with Wolfsburg’s John Brooks, Barcelona full-back Sergino Dest and Bryan Reynolds of Serie A side Roma all in line to start. Both Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie and Barnsley’s on-loan Daryl Dike have travelled to Switzerland too, and both are set to feature.
There has been much speculation about potential debuts for Bayern Munich II defender Justin Che and Schalke striker Matthew Hoppe – who impressed this year despite his club’s demise – with the latter most likely to be offered a chance in the second half.
Switzerland possible starting lineup:
Mvogo; Widmer, Akanji, Elvedi, Rodriguez; Zuber, Zakaria, Freuler, Shaqiri; Embolo, Seferovic
USA possible starting lineup:
Ochoa; Dest, Brooks, Miazga, Reynolds; McKennie, Lletget, Acosta, Reyna; Sargent, Aaronson
We say: Switzerland 1-0 USA
Expect a relatively inexperienced USA team to come unstuck in Switzerland, as they encounter a class of opponent above recent run-outs and have not benefited from a competitive fixture since November 2019.
With a potentially significant summer ahead, the Swiss will not want to further tire a squad featuring some weary legs, so are likely to rotate heavily during the game – narrowing their expected margin of victory to a single goal.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data
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