International Friendly: Switzerland v Jamaica

Switzerland will start their FIFA World Cup warm-up schedule with the visit of Jamaica on Friday.

The Swiss have a short programme of fixtures compared to many of their World Cup rivals, with just Peru left to face before their tournament gets underway against Ecuador on June 15.

It could be argued that the relative lack of preparation prevents Ottmar Hitzfeld's men from having the opportunity to slip out of the form that has seen them become one of international football's form sides over the past few years.

Switzerland have not lost a competitive fixture since a 2-0 defeat to Wales in 2011, and are the only team to beat World Cup hosts Brazil in their last 19 matches.

But Hitzfeld will be forced to do without experienced campaigner Tranquillo Barnetta and Zurich striker Mario Gavranovic, who are currently recovering from hamstring and ankle injuries respectively.

"Gavranovic now begins again with the running training and next week should be able to train with the team again," said the national coach, who is set to retire from football at the end of the tournament and will be replaced by Vladimir Petkovic.

And there was even better news of Barnetta, with Hitzfeld adding: "I'm assuming that he is fully fit again this weekend.

"The fact that we have a couple of ailing players is normal."

Jamaica, who will use this fixture as preparation for forthcoming Caribbean Cup and Copa America campaigns, have only once qualified for a World Cup - in 1998 - so Switzerland will surely view Friday's match as a chance to reacquaint themselves with their team-mates ahead of an undoubtedly tougher tie against Peru.

Hitzfeld feels the competition for places is greater now than it was ahead of the 2010 finals, in which Switzerland failed to progress from their group despite springing a major surprise by beating Spain - who went on to win the tournament - in their opening game.

"We have trained incredibly intense in Weggis over the past four days," he added. "Competition is greater than four years ago before the World Cup in South Africa.

"We must lay the foundation for Brazil here."


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