Coming into today's match in Manaus, both teams were trying to find a way to advance on into the knockout stage from Group E. It would have been hard to tell that though early, as there was only one squad that was really into the match. Early and often it was all Xherdan Shaqiri from Switzerland, putting pressure on Honduras and goalkeeper Noel Valladares. The Swiss looked like they were poised to break through just three minutes into the game but Valladares made a fine save on Shaqiri's point-blank attempt to keep the match scoreless early.
But just three minutes later Shaqiri's sixth minute goal tied for the earliest World Cup goal in Swiss history when his beauty of a shot from outside the box was able to beat Valladares to give Switzerland the early 1-0 lead. The previous time that La Nati had scored in the sixth minute of a World Cup match came in 1962 when Rolf Wuthrich scored to give Switzerland a early 1-0 lead over hosts Chile in a match that the Swiss would eventually lose 3-1.
To try and make sure that Switzerland didn't suffer the same fate as back in 1962 after scoring such an early goal, Shaqiri got back to work and made a nice run to find himself wide open and on the receiving end of a pass from Josip Drmic. Shaqiri made the most of his opportunity and buried the shot past Valladares to give not only give Switzerland a 2-0 lead, but also at the time put them into the knockout round. The early brace from Shaqiri was the first brace from a Swiss player in the World Cup since 1994 when Adrian Knup scored two goals against Romania at the Pontiac Silverdome.
Just a match after scoring the first goal for Honduras in a World Cup match since 1982, Los Catrachos lost the services of Carlo Costly just 40 minutes into the match as he was forced to be subbed off due to injury. Not only was Costly the only player in the final few minutes of the half that was forced to deal with injury issues, but Switzerland goalkeeper Diego Benaglio looked to be stunned by a collision. Unlike Costly though, Benaglio was able to remain in the match.
The second half started with former Ohio State Buckeye Roger Espinoza being subbed off for Marvin Chavez. Up until then Espinoza had played every minute so far for Honduras during the 2014 World Cup. It Jerry Palacios who was doing his best to try and help Honduras to make some noise, as he offered up Jerry Bengtson a couple great services in the first ten minutes of the second half. The first attempt by Bengtson was squandered as it looked like he tried to head the ball past the keeper, but he tried to make contact too low to the ground. The second opportunity on a Palacios pass to Bengtson looked for sure like a goal as Bengtson manuvered around Benaglio to take a shot at the net, only to have his attempt saved by the foot of defender Ricardo Rodriguez.
Then in the 70th minute Shaqiri completed the hat trick to push the lead to 3-0 for the Swiss. On a day when Shaqiri was equaling different feats with each of his first to goals, he did the same with his third tally. Shaqiri became the first Swiss player to record a hat trick in a World Cup match since 1954 when Josef Hugi scored three times in a 7-5 quarterfinal loss to Austria. Luckily for the Swiss they didn't suffer the same fate as that day in 1954 when they were the hosts of the tournament.
Even though the result was decided early on, Honduras did fight until the end but just didn't quite have the talent to keep pace. Jerry Bengtson had another golden opportunity in the 80th minute when he was able to put a header on target from point-blank range, but it was saved by Benaglio.
One omission from the lineup for Honduras that could've possibly helped their cause today was of Celtic left back Emilio Izaguirre. In the match against Ecuador Izaguirre was subbed off at halftime and he wasn't too pleased to have to miss the rest of what was a 1-1 match at the time. Izaguirre did have some critical words of Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez, and while many thought he was going to start today, he never did see the pitch.
While the World Cup is over for Honduras, there is still work to be done for Switzerland. With the 3-0 win today, and the 0-0 draw between Ecuador and France in Rio, Switzerland now moves on to the knockout stage. Next up for Switzerland will be Lionel Messi and Argentina. The match will be played on Tuesday in Sao Paulo. If today is any indication of what's to come, there could be a shootout between Messi and Shaqiri.
Honduras: Noel Valladares; Maynor Figueroa; Victor Bernardez, Juan Carlos Garcia, Brayan Beckeles; Wilson Palacios, Boniek Garcia (Andy Najar 77'), Roger Espinoza (Marvin Chavez 45'), Jorge Claros; Jerry Bengtson, Carlo Costly (Jerry Palacios 40')
Red Cards: None
Switzerland: Diego Benaglio; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Ricardo Rodriguez, Johan Djourou, Fabian Schar; Gokhan Inler, Granit Xhaka (Michael Lang 77'), Valon Behrami, Admir Mehmedi, Xherden Shaqiri (Blerim Dzemaili 87'); Josip Drmic (Haris Seferovic 73')
Goals: Xherden Shaqiri (6', 31', 71')
Red Cards: None