Hodgson backs Switzerland to 'continue to prosper'

Former Switzerland coach Roy Hodgson talks to UEFA.com about his old employers' perfect start to qualifying – "they've got quality players at the top level across the world".

Admir Mehmedi (Switzerland)
©Getty Images

Roy Hodgson, who was in charge of Switzerland in the early to mid-1990s, talks to UEFA.com about his former side's perfect start to 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying. Hodgson twice beat the Swiss with England en route to UEFA EURO 2016 but saw more than enough positive signs not to be surprised by their three wins from three – including against European champions Portugal – in Group B.

"We played in Basel (2-0) and at Wembley (2-0) and I thought on both occasions that they were very good and would be our fiercest rivals in the group. They've continued in that vein. [Coach Vladimir] Petković is doing an excellent job.

"I've not been surprised at all that they're succeeding. I think the Swiss FA, even from the time when I was there, works extremely well. They've invested a lot of money in young players and they've taken the coaching side of the game very seriously. They've realised that as a country with small resources, they've got to make certain they get every ounce from what they've got.

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"It's not just the senior team that's done well over the years, it's all the national teams. They will continue to do well in the group because they've got quality players who are playing at the top level in the top leagues around the world. That wasn't quite the case when I started in 1992 or even when I left. We still didn't have that many players at top clubs.

"I think the team will continue to prosper. I really hope they do, because I think they did well in the EUROs and this start, as you say, is important. To get off to a good start in qualifying groups where only one team qualifies is very, very important. Beating Portugal at home gives them a headstart."

Roy Hodgson (Switzerland) 1993
Roy Hodgson (right) during his time as Switzerland coach©Hulton Archive