A fantastic hat-trick by Xherdan Shaqiri handed Switzerland a 3-0 win over Honduras meaning Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side moves on to the Round of 16 to take on Group F winner Argentina.
The pitbull-built Shaqiri had been fairly quiet thus far in the tournament but exploded right out of the gates today, netting a long-range blast in the 6th minute into the top corner. Twenty-five minutes later and he was at it again, latching on to striker Josep Drmic’s breakout and cooly slotting home from the center of the box.
Honduras produced a couple of chances in the first half with Wilson Palacios, Juan Carlos Garcia, Roger Espinoza and Jerry Bengsten all spraying long-range efforts wide. But it was the Swiss who had their hands firmly on this match and in the 37th minute, Granit Xhaka nearly made it three when he blasted Gokhan Inler’s set piece, forcing Noel Valladares into a fine save.
With the match well in hand, Switzerland came out in the second stanza hungry for more. In the 59th minute it was midfielder Admir Mehmedi finding the fleet-footed Shaqiri, whose shot heading for the corner was saved by a classy Valladares.
Ten minutes later it was Shaqiri again finding space and releasing a rip that was well-blocked by the Honduran defense. But it was only a sign of things to come because two minutes later Drmic again found Shaqiri off the break and the Bayern Munich attacker put his left-footed shot into the bottom left corner.
Honduras: Valladares (c), Figueroa, Bernardez, J Garcia, W Palacios, Bengtson, Costly, B Garcia, Espinoza (Marvin Chaves 45′), Claros (Jerry Palacios 40′), Beckeles
Switzerland: Benaglio, Lichtsteiner, Inler (c), Xhaka, Behrami, Rodriguez, Mehmedi, Drmic, Djourou, Schaer, Shaqiri
Goals: Shaqiri 2 (6′, 31′, 71′)