The Swiss were seeded before the draw and landed in a group with Ecuador, France and Honduras. Like the French, Switzerland will arrive with an improving squad which has some experience of past World Cup failure, though with a swagger to suggest that won’t be a burden.
In the 1-0 win over Brazil last August in Basel, the Swiss showed their fans a winning mix of steely tenacity and arrogant skill which unsettled the World Cup hosts.
In 2006, Switzerland topped its group - tallying four goals in two wins and a draw - but couldn’t find the net in regulation, extra time or even in the penalty shootout during a second-round loss to Ukraine that became the subject for heavy criticism.
In 2010, the Swiss opened with a stunning 1-0 win over eventual champion Spain but then lost to Chile and was held to a 0-0 draw by Honduras when it needed to win by at least two goals to advance.
On June 25, Switzerland will again finish the group against Honduras, in the Amazon jungle city of Manaus. Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld seems too wise to make the same mistakes again in what could be his last competitive match before retirement.
Often used as an impact substitute by Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola, the Kosovo-born Shaqiri is unlikely to be troubled by the end-of-season fatigue which affects many Europe-based stars.
While Shaqiri seemed destined to be a star for his adopted country, some of his teammates were fast-tracked on the international stage when veteran forwards Alex Frei and Marco Streller opted out in 2011 citing abuse from home fans.
Hitzfeld now relies on a 4-2-3-1 formation anchored by a midfield pairing selected from the Napoli trio of captain Gokhan Inler, Valon Behrami and Blerim Dzemaili.