Honduras vs Switzerland: Ottmar Hitzfeld looks to hat-trick hero Xherdan Shaqiri to take down Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina side

Shaqiri scored all three goals against Honduras to see the Swiss through to the second round where they will meet rgentina

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The Independent Sport

Even for a man who has twice won the European Cup, keeping Lionel Messi at bay may be the tallest order of Ottmar Hitzfeld’s career. Nevertheless, as the Switzerland manager prepared for the round of 16 encounter with Argentina, Hitzfeld commented that his team had no pressure on them.

“All the pressure will be on Argentina,” he said after a 3-0 victory over Honduras saw them go through behind France in Group E. “We have got nothing left to lose so things can only get better for us.”

In the shape of Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri, whose hat-trick in Manaus was the 50th scored in the history of the World Cup, Hitzfeld at least possesses a striker who is in the kind of form Messi has displayed in Brazil.

“Shaqiri is a player who can make a difference against Argentina because he can decide games on his own,” said Hitzfeld, who will be retiring from management once this tournament is done. “Even when we lost 5-2 to France, he played well and I put him in as a number 10 against Honduras and that paid off.”


If the Swiss do overcome Argentina, they will have reached the quarter-finals for only the second time. The only other occasion was when they hosted the World Cup in 1954. Then, they went down 7-5 to Austria. Even against Messi, Hitzfeld would hope for some better defending this time around.