Xherdan Shaqiri scored a hat-trick as Switzerland beat Honduras 3-0 in Manaus, to join France in the last 16 from Group E at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The Swiss knew that they would need to better Ecuador’s result against France in order to qualify for the knockout stages. And the Bayern Munich man came up trumps for them as he netted the 50th treble in the history of the finals, including a stunning contender for goal of the tournament so far.
France secured top spot with a 0-0 draw against 10-man Ecuador, who had captain Antonio Valencia sent off for a rash challenge as his side bowed out in the first round in Rio de Janeiro.
Switzerland got off to the perfect start at Arena da Amazonia with just seven minutes on the clock, as Shaqiri received the ball on the corner of the area before rifling a stunning effort into the top corner.
He got his second on 31 minutes following a sweeping move from the Swiss, in which Josip Drmic provided the key pass for Shaqiri to finish precisely.
The hat-trick was completed with 19 minutes to go, following another Drmic assist which was complimented by another sweet left-footed finish from the talisman.
Ottmar Hitzfeld’s men will now face Argentina in the last 16 on Tuesday afternoon.
Over at Estadio da Maracana, a much-changed France held Ecuador to a goalless stalemate, which sealed top spot and sent the South Americans home.
Goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez produced a man-of-the-match performance to keep the French at bay, but the result in the other match meant that his side needed two goals that never arrived.
Their mission was effectively over when skipper Valencia was red-carded. The Manchester United man went over the top the ball with his studs catching Lucas Digne, leaving referee Noumandiez Doue to take his time but eventually have no alternative but to give him his marching orders.
It was Valencia’s second sending off in just three weeks, after he was also dismissed in the warm-up match with England when he grabbed Raheem Sterling by the throat and pushed him in the face.
His side fizzled out of the competition in the end, while Didier Deschamps’ men maintained their unbeaten group stage and will play Nigeria in the knockout phase.
Confirmation of the standings in Group E see Les Bleus top with seven points, just one more than Switzerland who join them in the last 16. Ecuador came in third with four, while Honduras sign off pointless following a miserable tournament.
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