Reported Arsenal target Fabian Schar has said that his Switzerland team are already treating their opening World Cup game against Ecuador on June 15 in Brasilia like a final.
Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side go into the tournament as one of the two favourites to advance from Group E along with France, but the young outfit are evidently taking nothing for granted.
'I think the match against Ecuador will be decisive', said Schar. 'Obviously there are only three matches in the group stage and we have to take the first like a final already, but I have confidence.
'We had a good qualification and good preparation in Weggis. Our team has already formed well. We are keen to take on Ecuador and we want to achieve a positive result'.
Having been playing in the Swiss second division until 2012 before a move to Champions League regulars FC Basel, Schar only made his international debut in August last year, but he has established himself as arguably the team’s most trusted defender over just a few months.
A solid all-round centre-back, the 22-year-old acts as a leader on the pitch, with great passing range and dominance in the air, while posing as a genuine goalscoring threat on set pieces.
Schar's performances both in the league and Europe have been impressive enough over the past two years to attract recent interest from the Gunners and even Barcelona, but a host of other Premier League clubs are also reportedly after his services, including Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Thought to be valued at around £10 million, an impressive World Cup campaign would no doubt add to that asking price this summer.