ZURICH, (Reuters) - - Midfielder Valon Behrami is set to become the first player to represent Switzerland at four World Cups after being included on Monday in the final 23-man squad for the tournament in Russia.
The 33-year-old, who set an unwanted record in a 2010 match against Chile when he became the first Switzerland player to be sent off at the World Cup, has played in the last three global tournaments plus two European Championships.
He will still have to battle youngster Denis Zakaria for his place in the team after an injury-plagued season at his club Udinese. Seventeen of the 23-man squad played at Euro 2016 as coach Vladimir Petkovic opted for continuity.
The squad included 10 players based in the German Bundesliga and five who play in Italy’s Serie A.
Midfielders Silvan Widmer and Edmilson Fernandes, and goalkeeper Gregor Kobel were dropped.
“It was a difficult decision,” coach Vladimir Petkovic said. “But I am convinced that I’ve made the right choice. Maybe they are not the best 23 players individually but this is the most complete squad.”
Switzerland face Brazil, Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E.
Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Roman Buerki (Borussia Dortmund), Yvon Mvogo (RB Leipzig) Defenders: Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Michael Lang (FC Basel), Ricardo Rodriguez (AC Milan), François Moubandje (Toulouse), Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund), Johan Djourou (Antalyaspor), Fabian Schaer (Deportivo Coruna), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Moenchengladbach) Midfielders: Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Valon Behrami (Udinese), Blerim Dzemaili (Bologna), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Denis Zakaria (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Gelson Fernandes (Eintracht Frankfurt), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City), Steven Zuber (Hoffenheim) Forwards: Breel Embolo (Schalke 04); Haris Seferovic (Benfica), Mario Gavranovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Josip Drmic (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond