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Honduras vs. Switzerland: 6 Things We Learned

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

Honduras vs. Switzerland: 6 Things We Learned

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Switzerland dispatched Honduras 3-0 to escape their World Cup group and qualify for the second round. Their "prize," if you can call it that, is a daunting tie with Argentina.

    Xherdan Shaqiri grabbed a hat-trick and subsequently the headlines. However, there were several intriguing elements to this convincing win.

    Go to the next slide to discover six conclusions we can draw from Switzerland's victory over Honduras. 

Xherdan Shaqiri's Left Boot Is Magic

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    A matter of minutes into the game, Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri scored a goal that Lionel Messi would have been proud of.

    The diminutive winger ducked inside before bending an expertly arched shot into the far top corner.

    Shaqiri later added two more goals to record the second hat-trick of this World Cup and send the Swiss on their way to victory.

    The Messi comparison is an interesting one. Switzerland are arguably just as reliant on their left-footed wizard as the Argentines are on Messi's magic.

    Fortunately, on this occasion, he delivered. 

Fabian Schar Is a Safe Bet

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    Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

    Ottmar Hitzfeld opted to start Fabian Schar ahead of Philippe Senderos, and the result was an assured defensive display.

    Schar may have been Switzerland's top goalscorer in qualifying, but he is also one of their most solid defenders.

    With Steve von Bergen's injury having ruled him out of the remainder of the tournament, Schar should be a guaranteed starter in the knockout stages. 

Diego Benaglio Remains a Worry

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    Diego Benaglio may have saved a penalty against France, but he also appeared to be at fault for the first two French goals.

    Against Honduras, he looked similarly uneasy.

    In the first half, he badly miskicked a clearance, and a more clinical side than the Hondurans may have punished him more emphatically.

    Ottmar Hitzfeld is a huge admirer of Benaglio and will be keen to retain his experience. However, Benaglio's wobbles could see his first-team place come under threat from talented up-and-comer Yann Sommer.

Josip Drmic Gives the Swiss a Threat on the Break

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Josip Drmic returned to the starting line-up after being left out against France and made a significant impact.

    His pace gave the Swiss a novel threat on the counter-attack. That was particularly evident for the second and third goals, when he raced away from the Honduran defence to square for Shaqiri to score.

    Drmic is an inexperienced international but has the raw qualities required to flourish. Ottmar Hitzfeld should persist with him in the next round. 

Johan Djourou Must Improve

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    If Johan Djourou looks troubled against Honduras, one wonders how he will cope with the might of Argentina.

    Djourou was part of the Swiss defence that shipped five against France. That kind of defensive disarray is uncharacteristic of a Switzerland side, and Djourou's indecisiveness has certainly contributed.

    He has the physical attributes required to be a good defender but seems to lack positional awareness and concentration. The likes of Lionel Messi will hope to exploit that in the next round. 

This Swiss Team Confound Expectations

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    When Switzerland arrived at the World Cup, most pundits predicted we'd see a side who were solid at the back but uninspiring going forward.

    Instead, we've seen the opposite.

    Switzerland have looked ropey at the back but surprisingly slick in attack.

    The injury to Steve von Bergen hasn't helped their defensive woes. However, the Swiss' progressive football should be applauded. Like many sides at this World Cup, they appear to have decided that attack is their best form of defence. 

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