Switzerland’s win over Honduras may have marked the first game since 1954 in which a Swiss player has scored a hat-trick, but for all the fun La Nata were having, there must have been one nagging thought at the back of their minds – Lionel Messi.
Ottmar Hitzfeld’s team no doubt tuned in, in earnest, to see who they would potentially meet in the last-16 and with France seemingly out of reach thanks to a +6 goal difference, they knew that barring a Nigeria victory it would be Argentina.
What they got was a showcase of everything they feared most as a Nigeria team intent on attacking huffed and puffed but ultimately couldn’t blow La Albiceleste down.
That’s because Argentina aren’t like any normal team – while the Swiss have star players like hat-trick hero Xherdan Shaqiri, the South Americans have a football architect in Messi – capable of building leads out of nothing.
He was at it again against Nigeria, rifling home an early opener and, with the game poised to go in 1-1 at half-time, scoring the first free-kick of this World Cup to send Argentina in at the break.
And while Switzerland won comfortably against Honduras, their 5-2 mauling at the hands of France makes the prospect of a meeting with Messi and Argentina all too much to take for a team that has not made the last eight of a World Cup for some 60 years.
The Barcelona man could not be in better form for the national team either, having seemingly lived up to the hype with key goals in all three of the World Cup games so far.
Last time Messi met Switzerland in a friendly back in 2012, it ended badly for the Europeans with the Argentine running riot with a hat-trick in a 3-1 win.
Currently available at 9/1 to repeat the feat in Brazil, it’s one World Cup bet you may want to keep in mind – the Swiss certainly will be.
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