Chicago Fire and Switzerland Men's National Team midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri discovered his path at the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Friday morning, when the tournament's draw was held in Doha, Qatar.
Shaqiri and Switzerland, as part of Pot 2, were drawn into Group G alongside Brazil, Serbia, and Cameroon, marking the second-straight World Cup in which Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland were drawn into the same group.
Given their placement in spot G2, Switzerland will open their tournament against five-time champion Brazil on Nov. 24, who were drawn into spot G1.
"It's a good draw," Shaqiri told media following the event. "It's a good group. I was surprised that we had the same group like 2018 with Serbia and Brazil. Just Cameroon is a new country in our group. I'm really excited. It's a tough group. It's going to be tough for everybody to beat each one. I'm really looking forward to these games."
Shaqiri is set to make his fourth straight FIFA World Cup appearance in Qatar later this year. Overall, the Swiss midfielder has scored four goals in nine World Cup appearances, including three in four games played in the 2014 edition.
Swiss group mates Brazil finished in first place in the ten-team CONMEBOL qualifying standings - six points clear of second-place Argentina - while Serbia finished atop UEFA qualifying Group A, and Cameroon won CAF Group D.
"In a World Cup, you don't have very weak teams, because everybody deserves to be there," Shaqiri said. "Only the best teams in the world can play in the World Cup. Every game is going to be really tough for us, but we know we have the experience in our team. We played many, many World Cups. We played Euros. With that experience now, we go with a lot of confidence in trying to pass first in this group."
Switzerland earned their ticket to the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the strength of an eight-match unbeaten run through UEFA qualifying Group C that also consisted of Italy, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, and Lithuania. The Swiss topped the group with 18 points from five wins and three draws.
Shaqiri featured in six of Switzerland's eight qualifying matches in Group C, assisting five times in that span and helping secure a crucial three points with the lone goal in a 1-0 win against Lithuania on March 28, 2021.
"Everything must be perfect to go really far in this tournament," Shaqiri said. "But you can always dream in football and in normal life. I dream, also. Everybody wants to win this World Cup, but we have to stay grounded as Switzerland. I want first to pass through this group, then we'll see how far we can go."
In the meantime, Shaqiri and the Fire will next take on FC Dallas as MLS regular season play resumes with a 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff on Saturday at Soldier Field.
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