Shaqiri takes his place on the world stage

The Rio Report

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It was an entertaining climax to Group E, as Ecuador and Switzerland both desperately looked to join France in the knockout phases, but it was the European side that eventually progressed from the group and booked a daunting looking clash with Argentina in the last 16.

A goal from Ecuador to secure a victory against France could have changed the complexion of the group, but a masterclass from Liverpool target Xherdan Shaqiri gave the Swiss a comfortable 3-0 victory over group minnows Honduras that may well have ensured they progressed on goals scored, even if Ecuador had gotten their noses ahead in the other simultaneous game.

The Bayern Munich attacker scored a marvellous hat-trick to sink the Central American outfit, giving Switzerland what proved to eventually be a comfortable route into the knockout phase and make up for the hefty 5-2 defeat suffered at the hands of the French.

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Xherdan Shaqiri on-ball events vs Honduras

Shaqiri is certainly looking to impress on the World Cup stage this summer after reportedly growing tired of playing a bit-part role at Bayern Munich and after a quiet opening pair of games that saw criticism come from some parts of his home country, he needed a big performance to truly demonstrate his talent in front of billions of people.

Liverpool are one of the sides heavily credited with an interest in the Bayern man as they look to bolster their squad ahead of a Champions League campaign, with some suggesting he has now become a preferred choice over Adam Lallana as a transfer target for the Reds, with the Swiss man believed to cost half of what the Southampton playmaker is being valued at.

And any watching Liverpool scouts will have been impressed with what they saw from Shaqiri against Honduras, as he proved the difference between the two sides and fired Switzerland into the knockout stages.

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Xherdan Shaqiri shots vs Honduras

Shaqiri scored a fantastic hat-trick, with three different style of goals and five of his six total shots hitting the target as he took full advantage of being given a weaker opponent to ravage.

His first was a long range thunderbolt, thumping the ball from 25-yards into the top corner to leave Noel Valladeres helpless, before he displayed his counter-attacking abilities by racing through the defence onto a pass to slot calmly beyond the onrushing Honduran 'keeper in the manner Liverpool have become accustomed over the past season.

His third and final strike saw him come from deep to sweep onto a pass on the edge of the box and drive home to complete a memorable evening for a player who is still just 22 years of age, having converted half of his attempts on goal.

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Xherdan Shaqiri chances created vs Honduras

It wasn't as though Shaqiri was acting purely on selfish impulses either, as the clever playmaker also carved out four chances for team-mates, completing 33 passes all game with an accuracy of 83%.

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Xherdan Shaqiri completed 83% of his passes

He did slightly blot his copybook as he committed six fouls over the course of the game and won just one of five contested tackles, but while his defensive game was not the best, it was a devastating attacking display that saw Switzerland safely into the last 16.

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Xherdan Shaqiri won one out of five tackles against Honduras

With Liverpool without Luis Suarez for four months and Lallana struggling to impress for England, Shaqiri could be the man to drive the Liverpool attack next season if they pursue his signature.

It may have only been Honduras and they have proven themselves not the strongest defensively, but Shaqiri has finally managed to shine on the world stage and it was a performance that will have potential suitors sitting up and taking notice.

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