FIFA World Cup

Honduras vs. Switzerland: Shaqiri & Drmic Link in Counterattacking Display

MANAUS, BRAZIL - JUNE 25:  Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland celebrates scoring  his team's third goal and complete his hat trick during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group E match between Honduras and Switzerland at Arena Amazonia on June 25, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 26, 2014

Switzerland sealed their place in the last 16 of the FIFA World Cup 2014 by beating Honduras 3-0 in Manaus on Wednesday.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored a brilliant hat-trick to set up a meeting with Argentina, firing in from distance, when one vs. one, and from close range.

 

Formations & XIs

@stighefootball

Honduras played their usual 4-4-2 formation, with Juan Carlos Garcia at left-back ahead of the under-performing Emilio Izaguirre.

Switzerland restored Josip Drmic to the starting XI ahead of Haris Seferovic and moved Xherdan Shaqiri into a central, No. 10 role from the start.

 

Surprise Dominance

Honduras clocked up 62 percent possession over the course of the 90 minutes, per WhoScored.com, totaling their highest tally of the entire tournament by a fair distance.

Switzerland were slow out of the blocks and did little to press them or harry them, as the heat and humidity of Manaus, Amazonas—measuring in at 26 degrees Celsius and 88 percent, respectively—crippled the European side.

Figueroa & Palacios passing chart.
Figueroa & Palacios passing chart.Squawka.com

A feature of their defensive excellence during qualifying was high-pressing, but, since they've arrived in Brazil, they've struggled to harry and harass due to the climate.

Truthfully, without high turnovers and sharp attacks, the team can look a little average, and the Hondurans looked much the better side on the ball for long stretches in the first half.

 

Shaqiri & Drmic

Any high turnovers Switzerland were able to cause were used wisely, and, with Shaqiri in the No. 10 role, Ottmar Hitzfeld's men had drive and thrust in the central zones from the start.

Shaqiri & Drmic created (8) chances vs. Honduras.
Shaqiri & Drmic created (8) chances vs. Honduras.Squawka.com

His partnership with Drmic will be significant if the Swiss have any hopes of toppling Argentina in the next round, with the striker's excellent movement in the channels pulling markers away from the Bayern Munich man for his second goal.

Seferovic is a lumbering lump of a striker; not quite a target man, but probably not anything else either. 

 

Questions Moving Forward

"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," Hitzfeld told FIFA.com.

Moving Shaqiri central brings a fresh inquisition over Granit Xhaka's role in this side and what use he is, as, with Shaqiri sliding inside, the Borussia Moenchengladbach man is stuck out on the right.

He's not a winger and plays a very limited role out there, and with Tranquillo Barnetta and Valentin Stocker on the bench, Hitzfeld must be considering a change.

Mehmedi isn't pulling up any trees on the left either, with his impressive 45 minutes against Ecuador now overshadowed by limited showings in the following two games.

For Honduras, the questions revolve around their future and the 2015 Gold Cup. Do the team move on from Carlo Costly and commit to one up front in Jerry Bengtson, and can they find any younger centre-backs to challenge Maynor Figueroa and Victor Bernardez?

 

 

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