World Cup Swans: Federico Fernandez
As the 2018 World Cup draws closer, the official website takes a look back at the players who have turned out for the Swans and played on the biggest stage of all.
Today, we focus on Federico Fernandez.
AT THE WORLD CUP
After making his international debut in 2011, Fernandez had become a regular in the heart of Argentina’s defence during their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign under Alejandro Sabella.
He had also consolidated his place in Napoli’s back line and it was no surprise when he was named in his country’s 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Fernandez played the full 90 minutes as Argentina opened their tournament with a 2-1 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina in Group F.
He also played in his country’s second match against Iran, which resulted in a 1-0 win thanks to Lionel Messi’s late strike, as well as the 3-2 success over Nigeria in their final group game.
Argentina advanced to the knockout stages with a 100 per cent record and Fernandez kept his place in the team for the last-16 clash with Switzerland, as Angel Di Maria struck late in extra time to give the Albiceleste a 1-0 win.
However, the 25-year-old was left on the bench for the quarter-final showdown with Belgium in favour of the more experienced Martin Demichelis.
Another 1-0 success – thanks to Gonzalo Higuain’s early goal – was enough to keep Argentina on course for a third World Cup triumph.
Fernandez also watched from the bench as Sabella’s side beat the Netherlands on penalties in the semi-finals to set up a mouthwatering final against Germany.
Again, the centre-back was an unused substitute as the tournament ended in heartbreak for Argentina as Mario Gotze struck late in extra time to give the Germans victory.
AT THE SWANS
Although he spent the latter stages of the tournament on the bench, Fernandez’s performances in Brazil did not go unnoticed.
The following month, he joined the Swans on a four-year deal and went on to establish himself in the heart of defence.
Fernandez made 32 appearances in all competitions during each of his first two seasons in SA1, notably scoring the winning goal in a crucial 1-0 victory over Aston Villa towards the back end of the 2015-16 campaign.
He played a further 29 times in 2016-17 and made his 100th appearance for the club against Watford the following season, in which he captained the side on many occasions.