By David Ljunggren
MANAUS, Brazil, June 25 (Reuters) - Switzerland suffered terribly as they secured a second round spot by beating Honduras 3-0 in the final World Cup Group E match in very sticky conditions, coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said.
The win set up a daunting last-16 game against Argentina on Tuesday but the conditions were extremely difficult with the temperature at kickoff 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) and a humidity of 88 percent.
"Not only did we play a strong team but we played against the weather," Hitzfeld told a news conference.
"The players showed the right attitude and will and we surpassed ourselves. Passion comes from suffering and we really suffered today," he said.
Hitzfeld paid tribute to forward Xherdan Shaqiri, who played further upfield than usual and scored a hat-trick. Swiss media commentators had criticised his play in the opening win over Ecuador and the 5-2 loss to France.
"I did not pay any attention to the critics. I wanted to show we could play soccer and that's what we did ... I played very well today and I'm happy about that and proud of the team," Shaqiri said.
Hitzfeld said he had been certain the team would stay in the World Cup, calling the achievement a special moment.
"Whenever you reach the second round it is a great motivation and we are highly motivated. We are going to write history," the coach said.
"It is going to be a match where we have nothing to lose. We have a lot to gain, We have to draw the right conclusions and improve ourselves. We do have a chance, even against Argentina."
Hitzfeld said he was happy he had a full six days to prepare for the game and said he might give the players two days off rather than the single day on the schedule at present.
"We need the time to rest, we need to take care of ourselves and we have to replenish the lost liquid. We can't do that with alcohol, we have to do it with water," he said. (Editing by Ed Osmond)
- Sports & Recreation
- Ottmar Hitzfeld
- Xherdan Shaqiri