Switzerland extended the farewell tour of coach Ottmar Hitzfeld on Wednesday, collecting a 3-0 victory over Honduras in Group E to book their spot in the round of 16 thanks to a hat-trick by Xherdan Shaqiri.
With Hitzfeld due to retire after the Brazil finals, man of the match Shaqiri made sure the Nati boss has at least one more game as the Bayern Munich midfielder scored goals in the sixth, 31st and 71st minutes.
It was the second hat-trick of the 2014 World Cup — following Thomas Mueller’s three goals for Germany against Portugal - and 50th in World Cup history.
Switzerland finished second in the group behind France with six points and set up a date in the last 16 with Group F winners Argentina.
France top the group with seven points, Ecuador are third with four and Honduras exit the World Cup without a point and just one goal.
Hitzfeld made two changes to his line-up with Fabian Schar coming into the defence for injured leader Steve von Bergen while Josip Drmic replaced Haris Seferovic up front.
Honduras boss Luis Fernando Suarez swapped two positions as Wilson Palacios returned from his yellow card suspension and Juan Carlos Garcia came on for Luis Garrido and Emilio Izaguirre.
The Swiss nearly took the lead in the third minute but Honduras keeper Noel Valladares was just able to get his foot on the stocky Shaqiri’s low shot.
The Europeans continued their energetic early push forward and jumped ahead three minutes later on a superb strike by Shaqiri, who raced to his left to create enough space to unleash a left-foot blast just inside the upper left corner.
The Swiss took their foot off the pedal for a while in the heat and humidity at Manaus’s Arena Amazonia.
And they used a lethal counter-attack to double the lead in the 31st minute. Honduras’s Victor Bernarndez lost a ball in the midfield, sending Drmic out on the break. Shaqiri raced after him and was fed the ball before calmly hitting into the lower right corner for the 2-0 advantage.
Honduras controlled the ball much more in the first half but failed to create any real dangerous chances.
That changed three minutes after the re-start as Jerry Bengtson just missed getting his head on a fine cross from the left side by Wilson Palacios.
The Central Americans were close again after 52 minutes but Swiss defender Ricardo Rodriguez cleared Bengtson’s shot at the line.
Honduras remained the more authoritative side and called for a penalty at the 61—minute mark with Johan Djourou clearly running into Jerry Palacios in the box. But the Argentine referee Nester Pitana did not point to the spot.
And Switzerland made the underdogs pay for their inefficiency as Shaqiri completed his hat—trick. Drmic beat Bernardez on the dribble before finding the Bayern winger alone in the box for an easy finish.
Despite trailing by three goals, Honduras remained a determined side but could not overcome Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio, who made a great save from Andy Najar in the 78th minute.