Switzerland 2014 World Cup.
Switzerland is the most multicultural of all the 32 teams taking part in the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil. But are players like Shaquiri and Rodriguez a sign of Swiss integration or are immigrants just bigger football fans?
The name Haris Seferovic is now firmly lodged in the hearts and minds of all Swiss supporters after the striker came on last Sunday to score a dramatic last-gasp winner against Ecuador in Switzerland’s first game. In 2009 Seferovic also made a name for himself when he scored the winning goal in the final of the U-17 World Cup against hosts Nigeria which put the Swiss team firmly on the international football map.
Seferovic was born in Switzerland after his Bosnian parents fled the violence in the Balkans at the end of the 1980s. He is one of the 15 out of 23 players in the Swiss squad who are of foreign origin. A new infographic of World Cup players and their nationalities and family connections currently doing the rounds on the internet and social media shows that the Swiss team is the most cosmopolitan at the tournament. The graphic created by Australian designer James Offer shows that 15 Swiss players have 21 different family connections to other countries, ahead of Australia (18), Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina and France (each with 16 connections).
Click on the image below to see for an interactive version.
Sign of tolerance
Swiss captain Gökhan Inler is also a dual-national.
“I gave Gökhan Inler, a Turkish immigrant, the role of captain as I wanted to give more importance to the players of foreign origin. This diversity represents modern-day Switzerland and is a sign of tolerance. We are proud to show that the country can really integrate its foreigners,” national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld recently told the French TV channel Canal+.
Several of the national team players were born abroad. Bayern Munich star Xherdan Shaqiri was born in Kosovo and is not scared of showing off his family roots. When he scored in the World Cup qualifying rounds against Albania last year, Shaquiri decided not to celebrate out of respect.
This diversity in the national team is relatively recent. At the 1994 World Cup in the United States Nestor Subiat, who had Argentinian parents, was the only naturalized foreign player in the Swiss team. In 2006 in Germany there were eight players of foreign origin.
Info from swissinfo.ch