Switzerland fell in the 2009 UEFA European Under-17 Championship semi-finals to the Netherlands in Germany but that squad will long be remembered in their home nation for what happened next.
Although Switzerland had been European champions before, they had never previously earned a place in the FIFA U-17 World Cup. But in 2009 they secured a berth in Nigeria thanks to their performance in Germany, and won all seven of their fixtures, securing Switzerland's first global football title with a 1-0 defeat of hosts Nigeria courtesy of Haris Seferović, the fourth clean sheet for the man voted goalkeeper of the tournament, Benjamin Siegrist.
His talent was spotted even before the European finals when Aston Villa FC signed Siegrist from FC Basel 1893 just before his 17th birthday in January 2009. Overall in six European qualifiers he conceded only two goals, and that form continued in the finals. He made a superb late save to ensure a 1-1 draw with France and after aiding a 3-1 defeat of Italy kept Spain at bay in a 0-0 draw that took Switzerland through at the expense of the holders.
The Netherlands got the better of Siegrist's side in the semi-finals and went on to lose an epic decider against hosts Germany, but neither of those teams could match Switzerland's performance in Nigeria. In fact the squad truly caught the public imagination in their home nation like few Under-17 teams have managed anywhere, not just Siegrist but forwards Nassim Ben Khalifa and Seferović, full-back Janick Kamber and many others
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