Group E, Match 5
Xherdan Shaqiri struck a superb hat-trick as Switzerland secured a place in the World Cup knockout rounds with a 3-0 win over Honduras on Wednesday, reports Goal.com.
He may not be a regular starter at Bayern Munich, but the young winger remains the focal point of a Swiss side that have established themselves as an emerging force.
And the 22-year-old rose to the occasion when it mattered on Wednesday, his tour de force securing a win that meant Switzerland progressed from Group E behind France, who drew 0-0 with Ecuador to ensure the South American nation crashed out.
With his side smarting from a 5-2 drubbing at the hands of France last Friday, Shaqiri settled any nerves when he scored a sixth-minute thunderbolt before sliding home a second before half-time.
He then capped his impressive display with a third in the 71st minute, silencing critics of his recent performances and setting up a mouthwatering clash with Argentina next Tuesday.
In stark contrast, Honduras suffered the ignominy of being eliminated without a single point to their name.
Determined to right the wrongs of their France nightmare, Switzerland - who brought Fabian Schar into their bruised defence in place of Philippe Senderos - came flying out of the blocks as Shaqiri had a goal-bound effort blocked.
His first World Cup goal would come soon after, though, and it was worth the wait.
After cutting inside from the right wing, the lively Shaqiri unleashed a powerful, left-footed effort into the top corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area.
Shaqiri's one-man show continued for much of the opening exchanges, epitomised when he fired just wide midway through the first half.
Honduras started to offer an attacking threat and their verve showed up some nerves in the Switzerland backline, especially from set-pieces.
Such trepidation almost brought about an equaliser when Brayan Beckeles capitalised on the Swiss' inability to clear a corner by volleying just wide on the swivel.
But Shaqiri showed his class once again in the 31st minute when Victor Bernardez's failure to intercept a searching ball freed Josip Drmic, who slipped a pass inside for the 22-year-old to slide the ball home.
Determined to not go out with a whimper, Honduras began strongly after the break with Ricardo Rodriguez required to make a sliding clearance off the line after Jerry Bengtson had chipped the onrushing Diego Benaglio.
Shaqiri was on hand to show another flash of Switzerland’s threat at the other end, only to be denied by Noel Valladares – who was quickly off his line to keep out his effort.
Honduras continued to battle away and were left feeling aggrieved as a penalty appeal was turned down when Johnny Palacios went down under a challenge from Johan Djourou.
Any disgruntlement quickly turned to dejection, however, when Shaqiri completed his treble.
Drmic was again the provider, racing on to Rodriguez's searching long ball before jinking past Bernardez and sliding across a fine delivery that left Shaqiri with the simplest of tap-ins.
Man of the Match: X Shaqiri (SUI)
Match Commentary - as it happened
Three goals from Shaqiri were enough for Switzerland, with the first an utter thunderbolt. Honduras bow out without taking any points at the World Cup, but Suarez will have seen some positives from his men. After a 0-0 stalemate between France and Ecuador, Switzerland are through! I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you all again next time.
FULL TIME! A hat-trick from Shaqiri appears to have guaranteed Switzerland a place in the knockout stages, as a plucky performance from Honduras came to nothing. Plenty of chances for both outfits, but the Swiss were clinical and showed their cutting edge.
90' + 2' Chavez whips in a dangerous free-kick, but Schar heads clear from within a horde of bodies. Honduras are still desperately searching for a goal, but it appears that Switzerland are going to be able to earn a clean sheet.
90' + 1' We're into the first of three minutes of stoppage time.
90' Beckeles whips in a cross from the right hand side, but Djourou rises well to head the ball behind for a corner. Figueroa then tries his luck ambitiously from 30 yards, but Benaglio gets down well to his left to take the sting out of the bobbling effort.
89' A few minutes remain, with all Swiss eyes now on the result between France and Ecuador. Honduras have been plucky and given their all in the second half, but a Shaqiri masterclass and organised defending has got the better of Suarez's men.
87' Substitution: Xherdan Shaqiri out, Blerim Dzemaili in.
86' JERRY PALACIOS DRAGS AN EFFORT WIDE! The physical striker cuts inside from the right hand side, before dragging a shot wide of the far post! He should perhaps be hitting the target, with his reaction suggesting that he knows he could have done better.
85' Rodriguez is caught offside, after overlapping Mehmedi on the left hand side and firing a right-footed strike towards goal. Three Switzerland players were caught the wrong side of their defenders, that's either a good line from Honduras or simply tired legs from the CONCACAF side.
84' Just over five minutes to go, with Honduras looking to grab a consolation goal. They've been positive in the second half, with Chavez and Palacios in particular causing some problems with their physical attributes. The Chivas man delivers another cross from the byeline, but it floats over Palacios.
82' Mehmedi forces Valladares into a save, but the Freiburg man should be converting from close range - however it's not as glaring of a miss as Bengtson's! Tired legs are equalling plenty of gaps for well-placed crosses to exploit at the moment.
80' GOOD SAVE FROM BENAGLIO! Another cross from Chavez on the left picks out Bengtson in plenty of space from six yards out, but the striker's header is straight at Benaglio! It's a smart stop, but the Honduras man has to be scoring from there!
79' Mehmedi and Shaqiri look to combine on the edge of the penalty area once again, but the goalscorer's attempted through ball is too heavy and bobbles out of play for a goal-kick. Funnily enough, I think that Switzerland can forgive him for that.
78' NAJAR TESTS BENAGLIO! Beckeles delivers an early cross from the right, which Palacios manages to deflect into the path of his fellow substitute. Najar strikes first-time and Benaglio has to be alert to get down to his left hand side to beat away the shot.
77' Substitution: B. García out, A. Najar in.
77' Substitution: Granit Xhaka out, Michael Lang in.
77' Najar replaces Garcia, as Honduras look to freshen things up. That will be their final change of the match, while Switzerland have the luxury of another. What happens in this match now appears fairly unimportant, as France and Ecuador still remains goalless in the parallel contest.
75' Claros tries his luck from range, but Djourou makes the block to turn the ball behind for a corner. Chavez, meanwhile, is left in a heap following a strong but fair challenge from Lichtsteiner. Honduras' spirit appears to still be intact, despite the sucker-punch of Shaqiri's third.
73' Substitution: Josip Drmic out, Haris Seferovic in.
73' With less than 20 minutes remaining, it looks incredibly unlikely that Honduras will be getting anything from this games. Haris Seferovic steps up to replace Drmic, with Shaqiri coming over to embrace his generous teammate as he takes his leave.
71' Assist Josip Drmic
71' Goal Xherdan Shaqiri
71' GOOOOOOOOAL! SHAQIRI GRABS HIS HAT-TRICK! It's that combination yet again, with Drmic and the Bayern man undoing all of Honduras' good second half work! The striker races down the left hand side before cutting inside Bernardez, before setting back a ball for Shaqiri to slot beyond a wrong-footed Valladares.
70' Chavez wins another corner, this time off Schar, as the left midfielder continues to have a profound effect on the game. He delivers the set piece himself, but Benaglio rises confidently to claim among a ruck of bodies.
68' Garcia delivers an excellent cross from deep on the left-hand side, curling the ball towards the back post. It is headed back square across the penalty area to Palacios, but Schar steps in ahead of the Honduras striker to hoof clear.
67' A slight lull in the game, as both sides collect their thoughts. Switzerland are still taking second place as it stands, but there is plenty of time for France to fall victim to an upset against Ecuador.
66' Yellow Card Jerry Palacios
65' J. Palacios comes across Schar and catches the central defender, way after the ball had already passed. He earns himself a yellow card, which was perhaps a result of frustration that he didn't get a penalty five minutes ago.
64' Chavez breaks down the left hand side yet again, but Lichtsteiner slides in well to rob the substitute of possession and put the ball behind for a corner. The Chivas man has plenty of pace and is causing problems. The set piece is flung into the area, but Switzerland clear.
62' Djourou fails to keep track of J. Palacios, who leaves Rodriguez on the ground on his way into the penalty area. The Swiss central defender comes across the opposition striker, clipping his ankles and should probably have conceded a penalty there. The Honduras substitute could only nod a tame header straight at Benaglio.
61' Less than half an hour remains for Honduras to get back into this game, though Suarez will be pleased with his side's improvement. Chavez whips in a corner delivery towards the back post, but Rodriguez heads clear under no pressure. The Wolfsburg left-back has been fantastic this evening.
59' SHAQIRI AGAIN! The Bayern man and Mehmedi combine brilliantly within tight spaces in the Honduras penalty area, before the latter scoops a clever pass in towards the six-yard box. Shaqiri tries to lift the ball over the advancing Valladares, but the goalkeeper stands tall to make the block.
57' DRMIC FORCES A SAVE! The 21-year-old is found in behind the lines yet again by an early pass from Shaqiri, but could only steer a near post finish into the body of Valladares. Quite how he hasn't got a goal to his name yet tonight is baffling.
56' Honduras only have one substitution left to make, but the introduction of Chavez has added additional intensity to their midfield. Xhaka looks to pivot away from Figueroa deep in the opposition penalty area, but the Gladbach midfielder is robbed of the ball and the trailing side clear.
54' An open start to the second half, as the Swiss struggle to get a foothold in proceedings. Drmic and Shaqiri have been quiet, as Honduras' tendency to hoof the ball long to Bengtson and J. Palacios starts to bear some fruit.
52' Important goal-line intervention from Rodriguez! The left-back slides in to prevent Bengtson from converting, with J. Palacios lurking behind him in wait. Honduras are certainly looking more dangerous, with their more direct style posing Switzerland some early questions.
51' Not a bad start to the half for Honduras, who have had a couple of half chances. Bengtson flicks a long ball on to J. Palacios, who can only divert a weak header into the waiting arms of Benaglio.
49' Wilson Palacios delivers a tantalising ball across the penalty area, which his brother tries to meet with a diving header. The substitute ghosts in behind Djourou, but can't make any contact whatsoever, any of which would probably have turned the ball beyond Benaglio.
48' Lichtsteiner wins a free-kick deep on the right hand side, which Shaqiri delivers dangerously. Djourou can't turn the initial cross goalwards, before Inler then drags the loose ball wide of the target.
47' One change at the break, as Chavez replaces Espinoza, who didn't have much of an effect on proceedings in the first half. Honduras need to be much more positive but also incisive. They've seen a lot of the ball, but little in the way of chances.
46' Substitution: R. Espinoza out, Marvin Chávez in.
46' The game is back underway in the second half, with Switzerland looking to have one foot in the next round already. Honduras have two substitutions remaining, but don't appear to have the offensive quality within their ranks to have any joy against an organised Swiss outfit - especially with Costly leaving the field of play due to injury.
HALF TIME! So far, so good for Switzerland. Shaqiri has both of the goals, with the combination of the Bayern man and Drmic proving too hot for Honduras to handle. The underdogs have had more of the ball, but can't penetrate the Swiss lines.
45' + 2' DRMIC GOES CLOSE AGAIN! The Swiss striker races in behind the Honduras back four yet again, but Valladares closes the angle well to prevent Drmic from tucking a tidy finish beyond him.
45' + 1' There will be two minutes of stoppage time.
45' Only a couple of minutes remain for Honduras to grab a goal back before half-time, but it doesn't look likely. Switzerland are well-drilled and are forcing plenty of errors from the Honduran midfield, especially Wilson Palacios. Mehmedi picks up the loose ball on this occasion, but Figueroa makes a great challenge to stop the Swiss break.
43' Drmic and Shaqiri combine brilliantly yet again, with the latter feeding his striker down the left channel. The 21-year-old cuts inside, onto his right foot, but can only place his finish within the grasp of Valladares. Switzerland are causing Honduras a worrying amount of problems.
42' On second glance, it appears that the Swiss goalkeeper landed upon the knee of Lichtsteiner, which would have been rather painful. Benaglio returns to his feet and looks okay to continue, but Sommer will be ready should the situation change.
41' Less than five minutes until the interval, with Honduras able to deliver once again from a corner. Benaglio comes out to claim the outswinging cross, but appears to be caught by a Honduran arm on his way to the ground. Yann Sommer is immediately out warming up for Switzerland.
40' Substitution: C. Costly out, Jerry Palacios in.
39' Costly limps over towards the sidelines, which isn't good news for Honduras given the amount of goals he scores in their colours. Jerry Palacios is the man who is warming up to replace his teammate.
37' XHAKA BLAZES OVER! The Swiss midfielder drifts in between Garcia and Figueroa, receiving a lofted ball and taking a good first touch inside the penalty area. It sits up nicely, inviting the Gladbach man to take on a half volley, which he does. Unfortunately for Switzerland, the ball whistles narrowly over the crossbar from a tight angle.
35' Honduras are seeing plenty of the ball, but simply cannot break down Hitzfeld's organised lines. Drmic and Shaqiri have combined incisively on the break for the Swiss, but no such promise has been forthcoming from a very toothless Honduran eleven. Bengtson shoots from range, but flashes his attempt high and wide of the target.
33' Around ten minutes until the break and the scoreline already doesn't make good reading for Honduras. They now have to score around six goals without reply to have any chance of progressing. As it stands, the Swiss will take second place in Group E.
31' Assist Josip Drmic
31' Goal Xherdan Shaqiri
31' GOOOOOOOOOAL! SHAQIRI MAKES IT TWO! Switzerland are in a very commanding position now, with the Bayern man grabbing his second. He combines well with Drmic once again, before racing through the heart of the Honduran defence and placing a side-footed finish beyond Valladares.
29' As we edge towards the half hour mark, Switzerland are in a very strong position. Beckeles plays a poor pass across Honduras' defence towards Figueroa, but doesn't spot Drmic who is pressuring his teammate. Fortunately for Beckeles, the referee thinks that Drmic's jostling is a little too physical, awarding Suarez's men a free-kick.
27' Inler breaks from deep and spreads play to Mehmedi on the left hand side, but the Freiburg winger tries to beat one man too many and is robbed of the ball on the edge of the penalty area. Honduras take their turn to break, but their momentum is halted by an excellent sliding tackle from Rodriguez on the half-way line.
26' Benaglio makes a terrible error with his distribution, with Bengtson picking up possession and looking to float an early cross in towards Costly. It's a poor delivery, however, with Djourou able to rise highest and head clear. Honduras are looking very low on quality.
24' Switzerland are more than happy to sit in shape and absorb pressure, as Honduras don't look to have the cutting edge to scythe through the Swiss lines. Bengtson looks to get in behind Djourou to meet a long ball from Figueroa, but the striker is penalised for a shove on the former Arsenal central defender.
22' BECKELES GOES CLOSE! Honduras whip in a near post corner, with Inler unable to head clear. The right-back picks up the loose ball, before pivoting sharply, but his attempted half volley floats across the face of goal with Benaglio unfazed.
21' Lichtsteiner finds Drmic, before the lone striker shifts possession to Shaqiri. Again, the goalscorer is keen to get the ball onto his favoured left foot, but drags his eventual 25-yard effort wide of the target.
20' Shaqiri still isn't moving comfortably, in the aftermath of a poor, late challenge from Palacios. Bengtson is nearly found with a lofted delivery towards the back post, but Benaglio is quick off his line to claim the ball and defuse the danger.
18' Wilson Palacios leaves his mark on Shaqiri, who is left in a crumpled heap by a strong challenge from the tenacious midfielder. He gets back to his feet gingerly, but Palacios might need to be careful this evening, he has only just returned from suspension, after all.
16' The opening quarter of an hour couldn't have gone much better for the Swiss, who find themselves a goal to the good despite not really getting going. Shaqiri wins a free-kick 30 yards from the target, but cannons his dead ball effort into the wall.
14' Honduras won't be too unhappy with how they've started this game, but the fact they've already fallen behind isn't what Suarez would have had in mind. They've struggled for goals in this tournament and against a well-organised side in the shape of Switzerland, they just might fail to convert again this evening.
12' Costly whips a cross in from the left hand side, but Benaglio rises highest to claim the delivery. The Swiss goalkeeper is yet to be tested, while Valladares' only two real contributions to the game have been to make a reasonable save and pick the ball out of his net.
11' Honduras show some incisive passing once again, as three one-touch passes result in B. Garcia racing down the right hand side. Rodriguez comes across well to pressure the winger and shield the loose ball out of play.
9' J. Garcia races down the left hand side, before trying to shoot from an outrageous angle. Benaglio is happy to watch the ball wide of his near post, while the Honduras left-back raises an apologetic hand to his teammates who had pushed into the box expecting a cross.
8' Advantage to Switzerland, whose fans are jubilant due to the great start their side have had. Shaqiri has had two chances inside the first ten minutes, which would suggest that the 22-year-old might not be finished quite yet in terms of goals. Espinoza tries to burst into the penalty area for Honduras, but Schar steps in well to make the tackle.
6' Assist Stephan Lichtsteiner
6' Goal Xherdan Shaqiri
GOOOOOOAL! WHAT A STRIKE FROM SHAQIRI! Valladares is left with no chance, as the Swiss midfielder rockets a long-range effort into the top left hand corner! The goalkeeper is totally helpless, as the Bayern man drifts across the edge of the penalty area before curling a left-footed thunderbolt in off the underside of the crossbar!
4' The pitch looks to be cutting up already, with running repairs not seeming to have had a great effect on the playing surface. It might suit Honduras, who prefer to utilise a direct style of football, as passing the ball along the ground could become a little unpredictable.
3' SHAQIRI GOES CLOSE! Honduras surrender possession in a deep area, courtesy of Wilson Palacios. Drmic breaks down the left hand side to the byeline, before cutting back an intelligent cross. Shaqiri makes contact, but an extended leg from Valladares denies the midfielder.
2' Honduras enjoy a good early spell of possession, keeping hold of the ball and moving it rather sharply. They aren't penetrating the thick red lines of the Swiss, but it's somewhat encouraging from the underdogs. Switzerland appear happy to sit in shape and bide their time given the heat of Manaus.
1' The game is underway! Plenty is riding on this result, with the Swiss definitely the more confident of the two nations in terms of their chances of navigating their way beyond the group stages. Three points should be enough for Hitzfeld's men, though Ecuador may manage to pull off an upset against a slightly changed France eleven - we've certainly seen more bizarre things during this World Cup!
Honduras substitutes: Lopez, O. Chavez, Montes, Izaguirre, J. Palacios, M. Martinez, Delgado, R. Martinez, Najar, Garrido, Escober, M. Chavez.
Honduras starting line-up (4-4-2): Valladares; Beckeles, Bernardez, Figueroa, J. Garcia; B. Garcia, Claros, Palacios, Espinoza; Costly, Bengtson.
TEAM NEWS: Fabian Schar is preferred to Philippe Senderos, as Steve von Bergen returned to Switzerland last week after picking up a fractured eye socket against France. Valon Behrami starts alongside Gokhan Inler, despite Blerim Dzemaili making an impact off the bench in his side's defeat to Les Bleus. Admir Mehmedi retains his place on the left hand side, with Josip Drmic replacing Haris Seferovic up top.
TEAM NEWS: Wilson Palacios comes straight back into the side after suspension for Luis Garrido, while left-back Emilio Izaguirre is replaced by Juan Garcia. But for these two changes, Suarez keeps things consistent, with the Colombian coach presumably hoping for another spirited performance which pushed Ecuador all of the way last time out.
Commenatry & Report: Goal dot com