Swiss happily advance; Argentina wins again
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.
Seattle Times news services
Follow the 2014 World Cup with our dynamic event guide that has live results, schedule and group info as well as news and predictions from the first kick on June 12 to the final whistle on July 13.
MANAUS, Brazil — 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 two 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 São 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.”
RIO DE JANEIRO — France’s much-vaunted attack missed a series of chances as it drew 0-0 with 10-man Ecuador to reach the knockout stage, while the South Americans bowed out of the tournament.
France, which ended with seven points, had scored eight goals in two games and 39 in its previous 11. But the finishing on Wednesday lacked sharpness against a spirited Ecuador side which threatened all game on the break.
“I’m proud of what the players have achieved,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “We didn’t take our chances, but that takes nothing away from our joy. We had to be vigilant against an Ecuador side that was quick and looked dangerous even with 10 men.”
A win would have given France three group-stage wins for the first time since 1998 — the year it won the tournament on home soil.
France next faces Nigeria on Monday.
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — About a dozen Argentine fans couldn’t get enough of the smell of victory in the Beira-Rio Stadium, dancing and singing in their seats more than an hour after their team beat Nigeria 3-2.
They had good reason to celebrate.
Once again Lionel Messi had put on a World Cup show with two goals, but this time his whole team — aside from a couple of defensive blunders — was part of the performance.
In its third straight win, Argentina attacked with more flair than previously and could have scored more goals if it weren’t for some good saves by Nigeria’s goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama.
Ahmed Musa kept things interesting by twice erasing Argentina’s lead, before Marcos Rojo kneed in the winner from a corner.
“We played against a team that wanted to play,” Messi said. “I think we saw a good Argentina. We need to continue on this path.”
SALVADOR, Brazil — Bosnia-Herzegovina ended Iran’s hopes of advancing to the knockout stages with a 3-1 victory in Group F, registering its first World Cup win in the process.
The Bosnians, who were already relegated from the tournament, took a commanding 2-0 lead with goals from Edin Dzeko in the 23rd and Miralem Pjanic in the 53rd before Iran hit back in a desperate late bid to qualify for the second round.
Reza Ghoochannejhad gave some hope to the Iranians with a tap-in goal in the 81st, but Avdija Vrsaljevic replied immediately.
• Luis Suarez could be hit with a harsh suspension Thursday when FIFA announces the findings of its investigation into charges the Uruguay striker bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the left shoulder during Tuesday’s game in Natal.
• Carlos Queiroz said he is quitting as Iran’s coach after his team’s group-stage exit.
• Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez quit after a third straight loss in Brazil.