The World Cup countdown begins for the Swiss national team with a test in Athens (today, 19.00 clock). Host Greece is under scrutiny for serious league problems across Europe.
It will take just under three months for the Swiss team to focus on the fivefold world champion Brazil for at least 90 minutes at the opening round of the World Cup in Russia. The Seleção was in the SFV ranks only for a few moments at the beginning of the week – a reporter from « ESPN Brazil » asked national coach Vladimir Petkovic for an assessment. « Normally they should win with left against Switzerland. »
Petkovic joked because other topics currently interest him more. For him, it’s all about refreshing the good base of last fall. In Athens not only tactical aspects are in the foreground, it is also about soft factors, the coexistence of the group. In order to sharpen the sense of community, to build up another advantageous dynamic in the team.
The Ticino knows the laws of the business. Good results in tests tend to be relativized, but in the case of missteps, the public tends to lack mildness in the assessment. That’s why the Swiss coach prefers challenges rather than friendlies and defined his message right at the beginning of the camp: « In the national team, a clear mind is essential. »
Far away from the metropolis in the midst of an olive grove, AEK Athens was able to feel on a daily basis the great work ethic with which the Swiss prepared their first meeting since the tough playoff against Northern Ireland with the Greeks. Petkovic played, sprinted, shot and toiled until dusk.
Concentrated, nutritious units, according to the taste of Stephan Lichtsteiner. Speaking to the news agency sda, the Juventus defender announced a few days ago that it is also about away from the main venues, « to take another step forward, to get even better » .
National team dates in March contain pitfalls. One or the other Titular is on club level before a delicate finish. « Some play for the title, others against relegation or for European trophies », summarized Captain Lichtsteiner the issue of the priorities agenda.