Honduras vs. Switzerland: World Cup Group E Score, Grades and Reaction

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Honduras vs. Switzerland: World Cup Group E Score, Grades and Reaction
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A hat-trick from Xherdan Shaqiri helped Switzerland to a 3-0 win over Honduras in Manaus on Wednesday, which was enough to secure second spot in World Cup Group E.

Switzerland required assistance from elsewhere, which France provided, but they did their own job in impressive fashion—with Shaqiri and Josip Drmic cutting Honduras to shreds with some fine attacking play.

The Swiss started at a rate of knots and came close to taking the lead inside three minutes.

A fine break down the left resulted in Drmic fizzing in a low cross that Shaqiri met crisply, but Honduras keeper Noel Valladares pulled off a superb reflex save.

Having been denied from five yards, Shaqiri went for goal from long range on six minutes—and to spectacular effect.

The Bayern Munich man drove across the edge of the box before letting fly a stunning left-footed effort that flew beyond a stranded Valladares and into the top corner.

Honduras came into the contest with a reputation for being robust in the tackle, and a series of crunching challenges were made—one in particular from Wilson Palacios on Shaqiri was particularly bad—which appeared to disrupt the flow of the Swiss play.

Frank Augstein/Associated Press

As hard as Honduras tried to shackle Switzerland, they could not live with the pace and movement of Shaqiri and Drmic.

Shortly after the half-hour mark, the lead was doubled. A clearance from the back was picked up on the halfway line by Drmic. At that moment, Shaqiri peeled off into space and was found by Drmic’s pass.

Faced with only Valladares, Shaqiri waited for the Honduras keeper to commit before stroking the ball into the corner. For a player who struggled for regular playing time at Bayern Munich last season, Shaqiri looked razor sharp in Manaus.

Shortly before the break, Shaqiri attempted to pay back Drmic for his assist by slipping his attacking partner in behind the Honduras defence. Drmic made decent contact with his shot, but Valladares had his angles correct and made the save.

Honduras offered little as an attacking force in the opening 45 minutes, but they had a huge chance at the start of the second half.

A cross from Wilson Palacios split the Swiss defence and found Jerry Bengston in space. The ball was begging to be volleyed home, but Bengston inexplicably stooped low to nod home and missed the ball completely.

A second chance fell to Bengston shortly afterward when he rounded the keeper, but his shot was cleared off the line by Ricardo Rodriguez.

Honduras had decent claims for a penalty on the hour when Jerry Palacios went down under challenge from Johan Djourou, but referee Nestor Pitana waved away the appeals.

The Swiss were nowhere near as slick in the second half, credit must go to Honduras for that, but they made the game safe on 71 minutes—with Shaqiri bagging his hat-trick.

Drmic was the architect again, with the forward skipping past his marker and teeing up Shaqiri for a simple finish.

Switzerland’s passage to the last 16 was not guaranteed even with a win, as they required France to deny Ecuador a big win and three points in the group’s other game. Les Bleus did that, which booked the Swiss a meeting with Argentina.

The Swiss looked good going forward, but they were also troubled at the back. With Argentina having a certain Lionel Messi in their ranks, Switzerland will need to cut out the errors to stand any chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

Honduras Player Ratings
Player 1st-half rating 2nd-half rating
Noel Valladares 7 7
Brayan Beckeles 5 5.5
Victor Bernardez 5 6
Maynor Figueroa 5 6
Oscar Garcia 6 6
Juan Carlos Garcia 5 6
Wilson Palacios 5 6.5
Jorge Claros 6 6
Roger Espinoza 5 -
Carlo Costly 5 -
Jerry Bengston 5 6
Substitutes
Jerry Palacios 6.5
Marvin Chavez 8
Andy Najar 6

B/R

Switzerland Player Ratings
Player 1st-half rating 2nd-half rating
Diego Benaglio 5 5
Stephan Lichtsteiner 6 6
Johan Djourou 6 5
Fabian Schaer 6 5.5
Ricardo Rodriguez 6 7
Valon Behrami 6 6
Gokhan Inler 6 6
Admir Mehmadi 5 5
Granit Xhaka 5 6
Xherdan Shaqiri 8 8.5
Josip Drmic 7.5 7.5
Substitutes
Haris Seferovic 6
Michael Lang 6
Blerim Dzemaili 6

B/R

Post-Match Reaction

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld (via FIFA.com):

As a coach, after losing 5-2 to France you know it’s important to stay calm. I made the most of our strengths. Xherdan Shaqiri is a player who can make the difference because he can decide games on his own. Even against France he played very well. I put him as a number 10 today and that paid off. We’ve got nothing left to lose so things can only get better for us.

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