Switzerland needed a win to advance into the next stage at the 2014 World Cup, and Xherdan Shaqiri did everything in his power to ensure that this happened.
The 22-year-old star completed a hat trick in a 3-0 win over Honduras, giving his side six points in Group E. With Ecuador only managing a draw against France, this was enough for Switzerland to earn second place and a spot in the round of 16.
While everyone came to play for the European squad, Shaqiri was the true star in one of the biggest matches for the national team in a long time.
Although the midfielder had not scored in his first two matches of the tournament, it did not take long for him to come through for his nation in the third contest against Honduras. In the sixth minute, the midfielder fired a shot from distance that was one of the best in the tournament:
The reverse angle showed how perfect the shot really was:
Unsurprisingly, there were many impressed by this opening shot, including The Sun:
Matteo Bonetti of beIN Sports compares the goal to that of one of the best in the world:
This is something that fans of the young player have been waiting to see for some time, including Kristian Jack of TSN:
As BBC Sport points out, this was a rare moment in Switzerland national history:
However, the midfielder was far from finished in this competition. In the 31st minute, he received a great pass from Josip Drmic and then calmly put it past the goalkeeper to double his side's lead to 2-0:
Janusz Michallik of ESPN points out that this duo was excelling together in the match:
This partnership was seen in the second half when Drmic again created a great opportunity to help complete Shaqiri's hat trick:
The third score helped complete what was a tremendous all-around performance by the 22-year-old star, as highlighted by Squawka Football:
Switzerland were able to hold onto the 3-0 win after Shaqiri was substituted out in the 87th minute, which was enough to advance to the next round in the tournament.
Bleacher Report's Graham Ruthven was proud of the individual effort from the Bayern Munich player, but remained disappointed it took until the third match for Shaqiri to show something:
Luckily, it did not hurt the Swiss as they were able to move onto the next round as second place in Group E. They will move onto face Argentina in the round of 16 and will have plenty of confidence going into that match.
Even with elite players like Lionel Messi on the attack, the South American squad has been vulnerable defensively. If Shaqiri can play as well as he did against Honduras, Switzerland certainly have a chance to pull off the upset.
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