By TATE STEINLAGE
It was a one-sided affair between Switzerland and Honduras Wednesday in Manaus, and Xherdan Shaqiri was a big reason why.
The 22-year-old scored a hat trick in just over an hour of action, helping the Swiss secure second place in Group E and a spot in the Round of 16. Shaqiri’s performance earned him SBI World Cup Man of the Match honors.
Shaqiri’s remarkable afternoon began as such with a stunning left-footing shot that curled just under the top post and into the back of the net to give the Swiss the 1-0 lead in the 6th minute. His second would come 25 minutes later following a perfect pass from teammate Josip Drmic to set up Shaqiri for a side-netting finish. The first-half brace marked the first time a Swiss player has scored two goals in the opening 45 minutes of a World Cup since Adrian Knup in 1994.
Exactly 40 minutes after the second celebration, Shaqiri would enjoy a third and final after putting away a left-footed attempt to the right of the diving Honduran goalkeeper. The goal followed two excellent passes from Drmic and Ricardo Rodriguez, the latter of whom was awarded the assist. In all, Shaqiri put five shots on goal on seven attempts in 87 minutes of action before being subbed out for fellow midfielder Blerim Dzemaili.
Shaqiri beat out teammates Josip Drmic and Johan Djourou for the honors.
What did you think of Shaqiri’s hat trick? Can the Bayern Munich product carry that momentum into the Round of 16?
Share your thoughts below.