Honduras vs. Switzerland: Final score 0-3, Shaqiri fires Swiss into knockouts

Matthew Lewis

A hat-trick from Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri ensured La Nati beat Honduras to qualify for the World Cup's knockout stages.

A hat-trick from Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri helped them to a 3-0 win over Honduras as Group E came to a close. La Nati's victory combined with Ecuador's goalless draw against table toppers France to ensure the Swiss leapfrogged La Tri into second place and the knockout stages. Honduras, meanwhile, finish bottom of the group.

It took only six minutes for Switzerland to take the lead against Honduras, courtesy of one of the goals of the tournament from Xherdan Shaqiri. Cutting in off the left flank under pressure from defender Juan Carlos García, the winger managed to curl an inch-perfect strike against the underside of Noel Valladares' crossbar and into the top corner.

Having taken the early lead, Switzerland were surprisingly willing to allow Honduras to dictate the game. They sat deep and compact in their own half, with their extra numbers in the centre making it extremely difficult for Los Catrachos to break them down. Tellingly, Honduras' best first half chance fell to defender Brayan Beckeles from a corner midway through the first half, though he sliced wide on the turn.

Switzerland's patient approach paid dividends just past the half-hour, when they lethally counter-attacked through striker Josip Drmić down the left. He rolled the ball through for the onrushing Shaqiri, who calmly slotted past Valladares when one-on-one to seal his brace. It was a brilliant, clinical goal from La Nati, and at halftime they looked totally comfortable at 2-0.

However, Honduras should have pulled one back through Jerry Bengtson within five minutes of the restart. The big striker threw himself at a deep cross from the left, though couldn't quite make contact from close-range. They went even closer in the 52nd minute when Bengtson was again threaded through on goal and rounded the goalkeeper, only for Swiss left-back Ricardo Rodríguez to get back and clear the ball off the line.

Switzerland withstood the early Honduran pressure and created a couple of good chances of their own just short of the hour, though Drmić and Shaqiri were both denied from close-range by Valladares. The game had developed into a surprisingly end-to-end affair and Honduras had a good shout for penalty minutes later when Jerry Palacios went down under pressure from Johan Djourou minutes later, though the referee adjudged no foul to have been committed.

With Switzerland looking much less convincing than in the first half, they were relieved to add a third on the break inside the final 20 minutes. Drmić again was heavily involved, picking the ball up out on the left flank and rolling it across for Shaqiri to fire past Valladares to kill the game off once and for all.

Bengtson should have netted a consolation for Honduras with 10 minutes remaining, though his free header was kept out by Diego Benaglio, moments before Valladares kept out a close-range volley from Admir Mehmedi at the other end.

Honduras: Valladares; García, Figueroa, Bernárdez, Beckeles; Espinoza (Chávez 46'), Palacios, Claros, García (Najar 77'); Costly (J. Palacios 40'), Bengtson.

Goals: None.

Switzerland: Benaglio; Rodríguez, Schär, Djourou, Lichtsteiner; Behrami, Inler; Mehmedi, Xhaka (Lang 77'), Shaqiri (Džemaili 87'); Drmić (Seferović 73')..

Goals: Shaqiri (6', 31', 71').

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