Haris Seferovic hits hat-trick as Switzerland top Nations League group
Switzerland 5-2 Belgium: Haris Seferovic hat-trick completes remarkable turnaround to ensure hosts join England in Nations League semi-finals
- Thorgan Hazard scored an early double as Belgium looked set to cruise into Nations League semi-finals
- A Ricardo Rodriguez penalty and brace from Haris Seferovic gave the hosts a shock lead at the break
- The hosts pressed on in second half as Nico Elvedi’s header and Seferovic’s third completed the comeback
- Switzerland finish top of Group A2 and join Portugal and England in Nations League semi-finals next summer
Haris Seferovic scored a hat-trick as Switzerland recovered from conceding two early goals to beat World Cup semi-finalists Belgium 5-2 on Sunday and qualify for the last four of the UEFA Nations League in remarkable fashion.
Belgium, who suffered only their second competitive defeat since Euro 2016, threatened to overwhelm Switzerland when Thorgan Hazard scored twice in the first 17 minutes, the first from an awful mistake by Nico Elvedi in the second minute.
But the Swiss hit back to lead 3-2 at halftime with a penalty from Ricardo Rodriguez and a brace from Seferovic before Elvedi atoned for his mistake by heading them further in front in the 62nd minute and then Seferovic added a fifth.
Nico Elvedi wheels away as his goal completes a remarkable turnaround for Switzerland to secure Nations League progress
Thorgan Hazard celebrates his first goal with brother Eden as Belgium appear to be in complete control of the game
SWITZERLAND: Sommer, Klose, Mbabu, Elvedi, Rodriguez, Xhaka, Fernandes, Zuber (Benito 87), Freuler (Zakkaria 79), Shaqiri, Seferovic (Ajeti 90).
Subs not used: Mvogo, Moubandje, Lacroix, Lang, Oberlin, Fassnacht, Sow, Gavranovic, Omlin
Goals: Rodriguez 26, Seferovic 31, 44, 84, Elvedi 62
BELGIUM: Courtois, Boyata, Kompany, Alderweireld, Meunier (Origi 90), Witsel, Tielemans, Chadli (Batshuayi 65), T Hazard, Mertens, Hazard.
Subs not used: Dendonker, Vanakan, Denayer, Praet, Mignolet, Casteels, Kabasele, Januzaj, Catagne, Mechele
Goals: Hazard 2, 17
The two sides finished level at the top of Group Two in League A – the top tier – with nine points and the Swiss qualified on having the better head-to-head record after Belgium’s 2-1 win in Brussels.
Needing to win 1-0, 2-1 or otherwise by a two-goal margin, the Swiss — beaten 1-0 at home by Qatar in a friendly on Wednesday — made a terrible start to coach Vladimir Petkovic’s 50th match in charge.
A harmless Belgian pass into the area landed at the feet of Elvedi who carelessly deflected it into the path of Hazard and he dinked the ball over Yann Sommer.
Despite missing several key players including Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne, Belgium quickly increased their lead.
Hazard is given the space to drive forward from midfield and fizz his second of the night into Yann Sommer’s far corner
The hosts looked set for a tough night after going 2-0 down within half an hour but produced a stunning comeback
Hazard, playing alongside his older brother Eden, collected a pass in midfield, advanced as Elvedi and Rodriguez backed off and fired a low shot past Sommer from the edge of the area.
The contest appeared to be over but Switzerland were handed a lifeline in the 26th minute when Kevin Mbabu went down in a congested goal-line scramble and Rodriguez converted from the spot.
That completely changed the complexion of the game and five minutes later, Rodriguez lofted a high ball into the area towards Xherdan Shaqiri who cushioned a header into the path of Seferovic to score from close range.
Ex-Newcastle full-back Kevin Mbabu appears to be clipped inside the box by Nacer Chadli to earn Switzerland a penalty
After the foul in the box, AC Milan left-back fires home the penalty to give Switzerland hope of a turnaround in Lucerne
Just minutes later, Haris Seferovic was on hand to turn Xherdan Shaqiri’s header home from close range to level
On the stroke of half-time, Seferovic guides a stunning strike home to hand the hosts a remarkable lead
Incredibly, Swiss went ahead one minute before the break with a goal that started with a Belgian corner.
The Swiss cleared the ball, broke and found Edimilson Fernandes on the right where he pulled the ball back into the area for Seferovic to sweep the ball past Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
The hosts still needed a another goal and it arrived in the 62nd minute as Shaqiri, who had an outstanding match, curled a low cross into the area and Elvedi made amends for his earlier howler with a glancing header.
An unmarked Seferovic sealed the win by heading in Mbabu’s cross with six minutes left.
Right-back Thomas Meunier looks dejected as Belgium’s hopes of progress fade away rapidly in the second half
Benfica striker Seferovic had a chance to secure his hat-trick and the match-ball but sent his effort just wide
Seferovic is not to be denied and sends a bullet header past Thibaut Courtois to complete the scoring and his hat-trick
Liverpool winger Shaqiri was a big influence as the Swiss joined Portugal and England in the finals
Belgium skipper Vincent Kompany shows his frustrations as his side slip out of contention in the inaugural Nations League
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