The Euro 2020 quarterfinals will look to match and possibly better their last-eight showing at the 1954 Mundial, the country’s best mark in the competition
Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji and Red Bull Salzburg forward Noah Okafor have been included in Switzerland’s squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Both Akanji and Okafor have Nigerian parentage.
Akanji was born in Neftenbach, Switzerland, to a Nigerian father and a Swiss mother. He represented Switzerland at youth levels, though, before making his debut for the senior side in 2017.
The 27-year-old centre-back has 42 caps for the Swiss and was a member of the 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup.
Like Akanji, Okafor was born to a Nigerian father and a Swiss mother, with the youngster deciding to represent his country of birth.
The Binningen-born attacker only made his senior debut in 2019 after playing for Switzerland at every cadet level.
But the 22-year-old forward’s impact has already been felt. Okafor’s first international goal secured automatic qualification for Switzerland to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar 2022 will be the youngster’s first appearance at the World Cup.
Alongside Akanji and Okafor, Switzerland head coach Murat Yakin has also included Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, Chicago Fire’s Xherdan Shaqiri, Newcastle United’s Fabian Schar, and Chelsea’s on-loan midfielder Denis Zakaria in his 26-man squad.
“We were spoiled for choice in some positions,” Yakin said.
“Many players have delivered convincing performances in recent weeks and months. But in the end I had to limit myself to 26 names. I’m convinced that these 26 players can always help us to achieve our goals.”
Switzerland will kick off their World Cup campaign against Cameroon on 24 November before facing Brazil and Serbia in Group G.
Goalkeepers: Gregor Kobel (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Kohn (Red Bull Salzburg), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier), Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Manchester City), Eray Comert (Valencia), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Fabian Schar (Newcastle United), Sylvan Widmer (Mainz 05)
Midfielders: Michel Aebischer (Bologna), Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz 05), Fabian Frei (Basel), Remo Freuler (Nottingham Forest), Ardon Jashari (Luzern), Noah Okafor (Red Bull Salzburg), Fabian Rieder (Young Boys), Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire), Djibril Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt), Renato Steffen (Lugano), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Denis Zakaria (Chelsea)
Forwards: Breel Embolo (Monaco), Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys), Haris Seferovic (Galatasaray), Reuben Vargas (FC Augsburg)