Shaqiri's hat trick puts Swiss into 2nd round

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 25, 2014 at 6:21 pm •  Published: June 25, 2014
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MANAUS, Brazil (AP) — Xherdan Shaqiri's hat trick put Switzerland into the second round of the World Cup, and kept coach Ottmar Hitzfeld gainfully employed for at least a few more days.

Shaqiri scored a pair of first-half goals and added another in the second Wednesday to give Switzerland a 3-0 victory over Honduras, a result that put the Swiss in second place in Group E behind France.

"We knew that we were going to show great football today," said Shaqiri, a Bayern Munich winger. "For us, this has been really a dream to be in the World Cup, small Switzerland in the World Cup."

The small Swiss will next face the not-so-small Lionel Messi and Argentina on Tuesday in Sao Paulo in what could be Hitzfeld's final match. The German veteran, a two-time Champions League winner as a coach, has said this tournament will be his last.

"We are really anxious for that. We also know that we are not the favorites for the match, but we are going to try for victory," Shaqiri said. "Getting to the round of 16, everything is possible. You never know."

Shaqiri scored his first goal in the sixth minute, dribbling into a crowd of defenders and curling a shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar. In the 31st, he collected a pass from Josip Drmic after a defensive error and easily beat Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares.

Shaqiri completed his hat trick in the 71st. Drmic did well to beat Honduras defender Victor Bernardez on the left and pass to a charging Shaqiri, who one-timed his shot past a diving Valladares.

In the other Group E game, France held Ecuador to a 0-0 draw.

The match at the Arena da Amazonia was the fourth and final game to be played in the Brazilian rainforest, and was the second to have an official cooling break because of the stifling heat and humidity.

According to FIFA, it was 26 degrees C (79 degrees F) with the humidity at 88 percent when the match started. Referee Nestor Pitana of Argentina made the decision to stop the match in the 39th, and the break lasted for about a minute. There was also an official break in the first half of the United States-Portugal match on Sunday.

After three 6 p.m. starts at the Arena da Amazonia, Wednesday's match started at 4 p.m. But a noontime thunderstorm combined with overcast skies and a slight breeze cooled the temperature a bit after several days of sunny skies and oppressive heat.