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Jubilant press hails Shaqiri as 'Swiss Messi'

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Jubilant press hails Shaqiri as 'Swiss Messi'
Shaqiri (left) celebrates a goal during the match against Honduras. Photo: AFP
09:07 CEST+02:00
Switzerland's 3-0 win over Honduras at the World Cup dominated the newspaper headlines on Thursday, with special praise reserved for midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, whose hat-trick secured the victory.

The Swiss football squad were under immense pressure and the conditions, in the Brazilian jungle, were difficult, according to the Blick tabloid. But Switzerland passed the test with flying colours, showing class and substance.

Shaqiri, who scored the three goals on Wednesday night, had proved himself to be Switzerland’s answer to Argentina’s Lionel Messi, the paper said in a commentary.

The Tages-Anzeiger newspaper praised the entire team for the huge effort it had put in to the match that takes Switzerland into the knockout phase.

“The Swiss ran 12 kilometres further than their opponents. That is a sign of how hard they worked for their success,” the paper said. Although all the players had pulled their weight it was Shaqiri who excelled.

The 20 Minutes paper online pointed out that the hat-trick by the diminutive Shaqiri, dubbed ‘XS’, was the first for Switzerland at a World Cup since 1954 in Lausanne.

Shaqiri had led the Swiss onslaught, the paper said.

The German version of the online paper, 20 Minuten, ran an interview with coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, whose career it said would now last at least another 90 minutes.

Hitzfeld has announced he will retire after the World Cup.

“I must pay the team a huge compliment, and that means every player,” Hitzfeld said.  “We didn’t just fight against strong opposition but also against the climate.”

“The team showed passion, but also suffered to get through to the next stage. I never doubted we would achieve this goal.”

Switzerland now face Argentina on July 1st when Shaqiri will come up against the original Messi.

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