Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri buoyant ahead of World Cup

The Bayern Munich man made just one appearance in South Africa four years ago, coming on as a late substitute in a goalless draw against Honduras in the group stages.

Four years on, the 22-year-old is one of the main men in Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side as they hope to live up to their world ranking of sixth in Brazil.

And Shaqiri believes his side could make a “splash” at the showpiece.

“We are now more a team (than we were in 2010) and (we) stick together more,” Shaqiri is quoted as saying on the Switzerland Football Association website.

“We are more talented than at the last World Cup. Many have evolved abroad. Respect the other teams (have for us) has become greater.

“We are not like Germany, Spain or Brazil – but we are allowed to dream.

“We are a similar team (to Belgium). Both could make a splash at the World Cup.

“We want Switzerland (to be) well represented. Our fans should be proud of us.”

Shaqiri has been hampered by thigh problems this season but said he was not worried about a repeat in Brazil.

“At the moment I do not think about it. I’m not afraid to (get) hurt again,” he added.

Switzerland will play Ecuador, France and Honduras in Group E at the World Cup.

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