Switzerland are turning to their old guard and some Young Boys – one of them a north Londoner – for Tuesday's European Championship qualifier against England in Basle.
Scott Sutter, who was born in Enfield and recently played at right-back against his favourite English club, Tottenham, in the Champions' League qualifier, is hoping to complete a memorable few weeks by appearing for his adopted country against the one where he was brought up.
He was given a debut as a half-time substitute in Friday night's goalless draw against Australia in St Gallen. A Young Boys team-mate, Moreno Costanzo, is also pressing for a place after scoring the only goal on his debut in last month's friendly against Austria.
The veteran coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, may continue to put his faith in experience, however, as he has already done by recalling the Basle strikers Alex Frei and Marco Streller, both of whom missed the World Cup because of injury.
Without them, Switzerland managed only one goal in their three group games in South Africa. Gelson Fernandes, once of Manchester City, scored it to beat Spain in the opening match, creating the first shock of the tournament.
However, the defensive-minded Swiss were then beaten 1-0 by a more adventurous Chile, and were held to a goalless draw by Honduras in the final game, allowing Chile to qualify for the knockout stages along with the Spanish.
In the warm-up friendly on Friday, Switzerland's wretched scoring run was extended to 10 games with only four goals when Frei, the captain, put a second-half penalty over Mark Schwarzer's crossbar. "Schwarzer knew in which corner I normally shoot because I scored [for Basle] against Fulham last year, so I changed sides," he explained. "It won't happen again."
Frei is remembered in England for spitting at Steven Gerrard during a Euro 2004 match, for which he was suspended for three games. "I called him to apologise and it's all forgotten," he said, doubtless hoping the other England players feel the same way.
Hitzfeld criticised the home crowd for jeering Frei after he missed the penalty, and added: "It was an exciting game.Both teams tried to go forward but once again we were not cold-blooded."
The midfielder Hakan Yakin has been forced to drop out of the squad but other familiar names remain and the bulk of Tuesday's team is expected to come from this summer's World Cup squad. Diego Benaglio, from Steve McClaren's club Wolfsburg, remains the No 1 goalkeeper, unfazed by having conceded four goals in the Bundesliga last weekend, when Wolfsburg lost at home to Mainz after leading 3-0.
The back four in which Sutter is trying to win a place normally includes the former Tottenham player Reto Ziegler of Sampdoria and two other Serie A men, Stephan Lichtsteiner of Lazio and Steve von Bergen of Cesena.
Fernandes and Goran Inler of Udinese, a player coveted in the past by several Premier League clubs, are likely to be the central midfielders, with Bayer Leverkusen's Tranquillo Barnetta on one flank if he recovers from a virus and Costanzo in contention on the left.
On Friday Eren Derdiyok was preferred as Frei's partner in attack, although the captain's Basle club-mate Streller must have a good chance of featuring at some stage given the team's lack of goals.
Frei holds the national record with 40 – which should be 41 – from 78 international appearances but he needs support; Streller, who was not used on Friday, has 11 from 34.
Switzerland (possible, 4-4-2): Benaglio (Wolfsburg); Lichtsteiner (Lazio), Von Bergen (Cesena), Grichtig (Auxerre), Ziegler (Sampdoria); Barnetta (Bayer Leverkusen), Fernandes (Chievo), Inler (Udinese), Costanzo (Young Boys); Frei, Streller (both Basle).
England v Switzerland
Played 20 Won 13, Drawn 4, Lost 3; For 47 Against 16.
Last win Wembley 2008, 2-1.
Last defeat Basle 1981, 1-2Reuse content