Honduras 0 Switzerland 3: Three talking points as Liverpool targets stars
Honduras 0 Switzerland 3: Three talking points
After a couple of games without a goal, Xherdan Shaqiri showed why he is nicknamed ‘the Alpine Messi’. After just six minutes, he found space 25-yards out and curled a fantastic effort into Noel Valladares’ top corner. Perhaps the best goal of the tournament so far – in a strong field. He also provided two other finishes, and he proved a thorn in Honduras’ side all evening – finding and picking holes in the Honduran defence almost at will, with the help of the three attacking midfielders behind, particularly Drmic, with whom he linked up with superbly. The 22-year-old got scythed down a couple of times – a perverse, if painful, kind of compliment (although in truth they were hacking down most Switzerland players). It is easy to see why the Bayern Munich striker, perhaps a little frustated with just 10 appearances this season, has caught the eye of Liverpool among others.
…But the Swiss defence has more holes in it than their cheese
Ok, that’s probably overstating it a little for the sake of pun (awful as it may well be). After all, Switzerland did keep a clean sheet. But in the first half this was largely due to bluntness of Honduras’ attack and the protection offered by defensive midfield pair Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami. In the second half, Honduras offered more going forward and Switzerland’s defence creaked. Fabian Schaer, presumably preferred to Philippe Senderos after the disastrous defensive display against France, fared reasonably, but Johan Djourou did not inspire confidence. On at least two occasions, Honduran players got the wrong side of him from fairly simple runs – and the former Arsenal player was very lucky to get away without conceding a penalty, and maybe being sent off. A more clinical striker than Jerry Bengston will surely have punished Djourou and Switzerland. It seems they are badly missing Steve von Bergen, the Young Boys defender who went home with a fractured cheekbone he got after six minutes against France.
lose but no cigar for Honduras
Honduras put on mixed showing here. Say what you what you like about them, they’re not packing their bags about for lack of effort. Like in their previous two games, they flew in challenges and left many a trailing leg – and were quite lucky not to be punished more harshly on a few occasions. They even injured their own player in one incident, as Figueroa went flying into an aerial challenge with a boot into Jorge Claros’ chest (Shaqiri wisely stepped out of the challenge). However, despite what the half-time scoreline might suggest, they had 67 per cent of possession at the break (61 per cent in total) – it was what they did with it that was the problem. In the first half, they desperately lacked invention and the killer ball, but they found this to an extent after the break, largely thanks to the introduction of Osman Chavez on the left. Alas, the finish was not there. Jerry Bengston found good positions, but, to be blunt, on the evidence of this World Cup (three starts and no goals), is a striker of at best Championship quality, not World Cup quality. He had three good chances and converted none. Still, Honduras weren’t the only architects of their downfall. They definitely should have had penalty when Wilson Palacios found his brother Jerry, a sub, who was nudged in the back by the wrong-sided Djourou. They had gained a bit of momentum at this point, so a converted penalty and a 2-1 scoreline would have made for a very interesting finish to the game – and even the group. Switzerland were certainly the better team, but a 3-0 scoreline flattered them a little.