Our prediction for this Nations League match:
The venue for this League A, Group 2 contest between Switzerland and Iceland will be at Kybunpark stadium in St. Gallen. Both sides played in the World Cup with varied success. While Switzerland managed to reach the elimination stages by finishing second in the group behind Brazil, Iceland was only able to get a single point in the group stage, against Nigeria. Switzerland didn’t go far into the World Cup, losing against Sweden in the last 16 match. Switzerland are fairing better in their head to head score with Iceland still waiting for their first win. Looking at the form of Iceland over the last ten games, they only have two wins which came against Indonesia in two friendlies in January this year. Switzerland, on the other hand, have 5 wins, four draws and a single loss in their last ten matches, the loss coming in the last game they played, against Sweden. We predict a home win.
Highlighted Player (Xherdan Shaqiri):
Another impressive player who emigrated to Switzerland, Xherdan Shaqiri is a midfielder with excellent technical qualities, very strong in taking players on and creating chances for his teammates, while also being a danger from set pieces. The Serbian-born footballer formed an excellent midfielder pairing with Granit Xhaka at FC Basel, before making a high-profile move to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2012.
Shaqiri went on to prove a great deal of potential at Allianz Arena, scoring 11 goals in 52 Bundesliga matches, but he decided to leave in search of first team football, first joining Inter Milan and then moving to Stoke City. It was at Britannia Stadium that the attacking midfielder rediscovered his form and if he continues playing at such a high level, it won’t be long before he returns to the biggest stage.
Even when he was not playing regularly at club level, Shaqiri would always reserve his best performances for the national team, as witnessed by 17 goals in first 50 caps. The midfielder was especially impressive at the 2014 World Cup finals, where he scored no fewer than three goals.
Highlighted Team (Iceland):
Iceland had little to no success during the first 60 years of entering the FIFA competitions, failing to qualify to a single major tournament in that period, but the team then went on to make tremendous progress at the start of the 21st century.
The Nordic side narrowly missed out on a place at the 2014 World Cup, losing in the play-off to Croatia, but they then enjoyed a thoroughly impressive qualifying campaign to reach the Euro 2016, taking 20 points from 10 matches to leave Turkey and Netherlands trailing in their wake.
As a result, the generation featuring players like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Aron Gunnarsson, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Emil Hallfredsson will go down as one of the most successful in the national team history and it could be quite some time before another team repeat their success. Even if he was only used as a bit-part player during the Euro 2016 qualifiers, Eidur Gudjohnsen has got to be mentioned as the first Icelandic footballer to have played for top European sides.