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Vladimir Petkovic to take Switzerland reins

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Vladimir Petkovic to take Switzerland reins
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Vladimir Petkovic to take Switzerland reins

Vladimir Petkovic has been confirmed as the next Switzerland coach on the same day he appears likely to be sacked by Lazio.

The club's president, Claudio Lotito, offered a strong hint Monday that the 50-year-old will be shown the door due to the Biancocelesti's poor form in Serie A this season. However, Petkovic's likely depature from Lazio will be tempered by the Swiss Football Association's confirmation that he will succeed Ottmar Hitzfeld when the German steps down after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"I've obviously been closely following the national team of Switzerland and its evolution under the direction of Ottmar Hitzfeld," Petkovic said in a SFA statement. "I am therefore aware of the legacy that I take, a well-established team with excellent prospects. This is important when you consider that before starting the Euro 2016 qualifiers we will not even have the chance to take an international meeting."

Petkovic has spent the majority of his coaching career in Switzerland, enjoying spells in charge of clubs such as Young Boys and Sion. Lazio assistant coach Antonio Manicone will be Petkovic's right-hand man once again, while Paolo Rongoni, also part of the backroom staff in Rome, will operate as Switzerland's conditioning coach.

Petkovic was due to hold talks with Lazio chief Lotito on Monday after a run of only one Serie A win in eight matches. It has been reported in Italy that the vastly experienced Edy Reja, Petkovic's predecessor at Lazio, is set to return as coach of the Rome side until the end of the season.

Petkovic was appointed Lazio coach in June 2012 and won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the helm. However, the team is currently 10th in Serie A after losing 4-1 at Verona on Sunday, and Petkovic's days at the Stadio Olimpico appeared to be numbered after Lotito stated his intention to act Monday.

Lotito told Sky Sport Italia: "We need a shock, I'm evaluating what to do over the next few hours. I will meet with Petkovic, but we can't continue on this road. I don't want to change just for the sake of changing, but I know I have to. The future? I have a shortlist of names. I'll see what the best medicine is to start again."

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