SS Lazio coach Vladimir Petković has agreed to lead Switzerland in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying, and will take the helm in July 2014 after Ottmar Hitzfeld leads the Nati at the FIFA World Cup finals.
Born in Sarajevo, the 50-year-old has spent much of his career in Switzerland, playing for the likes of FC Sion and AC Bellinzona before moving into coaching, where his clubs have included Bellinzona, Sion, BSC Young Boys, Samsunspor and – since June 2012 – Lazio. The Biancocelesti are tenth in Serie A and through to the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League, where they will meet Bulgarian outfit PFC Ludogorets Razgrad in February.
Petković will replace the 64-year-old Hitzfeld, who is retiring after the World Cup, on a 12-month contract that will be automatically renewed if Switzerland qualify for UEFA EURO 2016. "It has never been easy for anyone to follow Ottmar Hitzfeld and it won't be easy for me to continue seamlessly in the same vein, but I am absolutely certain of the team's potential," said Petković. "That will help me, and I am absolutely convinced we can succeed together.
"For now, I am giving Ottmar and the players space so that they can focus on the World Cup," added Sarajevo-born Petković. "I want to concentrate on my current job then, on 1 July 2014, be ready for my new position."
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