Philadelphia Union midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta failed to make Switzerland’s final roster for the upcoming Euro 2016 competition. Barnetta, who has featured in all of the Schweizer pati’s last three World Cup appearances, last earned an international cap in October, 2014 in a European Cup qualifier against San Marino.
Barnetta, who started the 2016 campaign with the Union, injured, has rebounded to make eight appearances with the club, netting one (a howler to win it against Orlando City) and helping with two assists. More importantly, Barnetta alongside midfielder Vincent Nogueira, as been instrumental in stabilizing a midfield that had long been a weakness for the Union. Barnetta’s play and leadership on the pitch is perhaps the main driving force behind the Union’s early season success.
While Barnetta has had a strong season thus far in the states, ultimately, it appears as if his early season injury struggles have cost him the opportunity to feature for his homeland. Barnetta has notched close to 500 minutes this season yet has only started five games. Moreover, Barnetta has played a full 90 minutes just once this season, during a 1-0 win over D.C. United.
Switzerland, for their part, have chosen to rely only on talent that has remained within Europe, selecting all 28 of their provisional roster from clubs within Germany, Italy, England, France, and Switzerland. While Union faithful, who have watched Barnetta day in and day out, believed he had the skill to crack the roster, realistically, Barnetta did not achieve the type of fitness needed to compete in the tournament, in enough time for Head Coach Vladimir Petkovic’ to feel comfort in bringing Barnetta aboard, despite his extensive international experience for Das Schweizer.
Barnetta has made a total of 75 appearances for La Nati, finding the back of the net 10 times through his international career. Perhaps one of Barnetta’s most memorable matches came against England in June 2011, where he scored twice off of the set piece, stunning the Three Lions in a 2-2 draw at Wembley Stadium in England.
Switzerland are currently ranked 14th in the world, according to FIFA’s rankings. The Swiss (ahem) “kick off” their quest for the European Cup on June 11th against Albania, in a Group A match that the Schweizer’s sure to take. Also joining them in the group are Romania and France. The road to the Euro for Switzerland will undoubtedly be a difficult one.