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Football news - Haris Seferovic smashes hat-trick for Switzerland as Belgium crash out

Seferovic smashes hat-trick for Swiss as Belgium crash out
By Eurosport

18/11/2018 at 18:07Updated 19/11/2018 at 00:53

UEFA Nations League A Group 2, Swissporarena - Switzerland 5 (Rodrigues 26 pen, Sefernovic 31, 44, 84, Elvedi 62) Belgium 2 (T Hazard, 2, 17)

Haris Seferovic netted a hat-trick as Switzerland came from behind to top Group 2 and sensationally seal a place in the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations Cup, ending Belgium's chances in the process.

Roberto Martinez's side needed only a draw to confirm their place in the last four of the competition, and they looked on course to join Portugal and England in the latter stages having opened up a two-goal lead through Thorgan Hazard's double with just over quarter of the game played.

But inspired by Xherdan Shaqiri, the Swiss fightback commenced, with Ricardo Rodriguez's converted penalty halving the deficit, before Seferovic struck back with a brace of his own, taking advantage of some slack Belgian defending, to put the hosts in front at the break.

Switzerland needed to win by two clear goals to top the pool and confirm their place in the semis, and having gifted Belgium their opener, Nicolo Elevedi made amends with a fine glancing header after the restart, before Seferovic put the game beyond doubt with another cracking header in the dying stages.

It means Vladimir Petkovic's side went above Belgium on goal difference and can now look forward to next year's competition finale, while embarrassed Belgium are forced to watch from home.

Belgium's forward Eden Hazard (L) and teammate defender Dedryck Boyata reacts at the end of the UEFA Nations League, league A, group 2 football match between Switzerland and Belgium at the Swissporarena stadium in Lucerne, on November 18, 2018

Belgium's forward Eden Hazard (L) and teammate defender Dedryck Boyata reacts at the end of the UEFA Nations League, league A, group 2 football match between Switzerland and Belgium at the Swissporarena stadium in Lucerne, on November 18, 2018Getty Images

TALKING POINT - Shambolic defending proves costly for 'world's number one'

Leading by two-goals and controlling the game, it should have been a comfortable night's work for a team of Belgium's quality. After all, they are ranked number one by FIFA. But it didn't turn out that way as Martinez's side capitulated. Was it a case of complacency; tiredness; a night off, or have Switzerland underlined a serious problem in the Belgian defence? On this evidence, how seriously can one take the World Cup semi-finalists?

MAN OF THE MATCH - Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)

Seferovic will dominate the headlines, but Shaqiri was the real difference between the teams, taking his superb club form onto the international stage. From the first minute the Liverpool star was a bag of tricks, full of energy, and his cushion header set up the equaliser; a deadly cross provided Switzerland with their fourth and he played his part in the fifth goal, too.

Switzerland's midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri (R) and Belgium's defender Vincent Kompany vies for the ball during the UEFA Nations League, league A, group 2 football match between Switzerland and Belgium at the Swissporarena stadium in Lucerne, on November 18,

Switzerland's midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri (R) and Belgium's defender Vincent Kompany vies for the ball during the UEFA Nations League, league A, group 2 football match between Switzerland and Belgium at the Swissporarena stadium in Lucerne, on November 18,Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

Switzerland: Sommer 6, Klose 6, Rodriguez 8, Mbabu 7, Elvedi 6, Zuber 6, Xhaka 7, Freuler 7, Fernandes 7, Seferovic 9, Shaqiri 9. Subs: Ajeti N/A Zakaria 5.

Belgium: Courtois 5, Alderweireld 5, Kompany 4, Boyata 5, Meunier 4, Tielemans 5, Witsel 5, Chadli 4, T Hazard 7, Mertens 5, E Hazard 6. Subs: Origi N/A, Batshuayi 5.

KEY MOMENTS

2' - GOAL! Switzerland 0-1 Belgium: A gift for the visitors! A dreadful back-pass from Elvedi is pounced on by Thorgan Hazard who nips in between defender and goalkeeper to slot home for this second international goal. He won't score an easier one.

17' - GOAL! Switzerland 0-2 Belgium: It's the Thorgan Hazard show! The Gladbach playmaker finds space in midfield and drives forward. The defenders retreat and retreat, inviting him to shoot from 20 yards. He gratefully accepts the opportunity, striking a really clean effort across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.

25' - PENALTY TO SWITZERLAND! Fernandes' cross causes chaos inside the visitors' box. There is a goalmouth scramble, and then Mbabu appears to be caught by Chadli. The referee points to the spot!

26' - GOAL! Switzerland 1-2 Belgium: Rodriguez, who scored his nation's deciding play-off penalty in the World Cup, confidently steps up and sends Courtois the wrong way. The Swiss are right back in this contest.

31' - GOAL! Switzerland 2-2 Belgium: What a turnaround! A lovely cross is played behind the Belgium defence for Shaqiri whose cushion header leaves Seferovic with a simple tap-in and he does the rest! Kompany in no man's land...

44' - GOAL! Switzerland 3-2 Belgium: From two-nil down, to three-two up! My goodness, what a turnaround. Switzerland break from a Belgian corner. Seferovic leads the attack and spreads the ball wide to Fernandes. He continues his run to meet the return pass and oh my, what a goal. He curls a first-time peach past Courtois from the edge of the box.

62' - GOAL! Switzerland 4-2 Belgium: That's one way to make amends for his earlier mistake! Elvedi wriggles free of his marker to meet Shaqiri's inch-perfect cross with a fine glancing header, leaving Courtois with no chance. As it stands, Switzerland are progressing to the semi-finals!

84' - GOAL! Switzerland 5-2 Belgium: Seferovic scores his hat-trick and Switzerland are going top of the group in style! Shaqiri is involved once more, flicking the ball onto Mbabu. The full-back stands up a cross for Seferovic who finishes with a cracking header.

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