UEFA's League of Nations: Switzerland bet on Haris Seferovic hat-trick to surprise Belgium and qualify for finals


Paris: Haris Seferovic scored a hat-trick, while Switzerland made a sensational comeback to defeat Belgium 5-2 in Lucerne on Sunday and qualify for the League of Nations finals dramatically.

Thorgan Hazard's former team left Switzerland needing to win by two goals to qualify for Group A2, but the hosts quickly reacted with Ricardo Rodriguez's penalty and Seferovic's first two goals, which led to a 3- 2 in the range.

Swiss rookie Remo Freuler, Swiss Haris Seferovic and Swiss Steven Zuber on the left during the Swiss-Belgium football match at the swissporarena stadium in Lucerne, Switzerland on Sunday, November 18, 2018. (Alexandra Wey / Keystone via AP)

Switzerland have used Haris Seferovic's hat-trick (C) to defeat Belgium and qualify for the UEFA Cup final. Alexandra Wey / Keystone via AP

Nico Elvedi made a cross from Xherdan Shaqiri in the 62nd minute of the first half, and Vladimir Petkovic's men sealed a stunning victory when Seferovic completed his triple in the final.

"I want to congratulate every player, there was a great mental reaction, the players never gave up, they always believed," Swiss coach Petkovic said. "They played with will, intelligence and with the head."

After an exciting match that has maintained a trend of goalscoring matches in the opening edition of the League of Nations, Switzerland will play the final round in June next year, alongside the European champions Portugal and England, with the final final in France or the France. Netherlands on Monday.

Roberto Martinez's men have seen the undefeated six-game series since reaching the World Cup semifinals.

"We forgot to defend well, we gave Switzerland the opportunity to return to the game," said the Spanish coach Martinez.

"We had a lot of excitement, we really wanted to finish at the top of the group. Disappointment will make us more focused when qualifying (Euro 2020) starts."

Thorgan Hazard sets the tone

Thorgan Hazard set the tone for the game in the second minute, with Swiss defender Elvedi's terrible defense.

The 25-year-old continued his superb form with a magnificent solo play in the 17th minute, carrying the ball forward in the rhythm before hammering a small entrance to the bottom corner of the area.

The man from Borussia Moenchengladbach has now scored 12 goals for the club and the country this season.

That left the hosts with a mountain to climb, but Rodriguez put them on the scoreboard 26 minutes into the second half after Nacer Chadli knocked out Kevin Mbabu.

Liverpool's Shaqiri striker was starting to have a bigger impact on the game and headed for Seferovic's goal to hit his first right after the half-hour mark to keep the game alive.

Benfica striker Seferovic sent the crowd in Lucerne for a beautiful curved end just before the break when a famous turnaround waved.

Switzerland continued to push early in the second period, with Shaqiri shifting a free-kick over the bar.

Shaqiri, who has been revitalized since moving from Stoke to Liverpool at the end of the season, was the architect of the fourth important goal, creating room for a whipped cross that only needed a touch of Elvedi's glance.

Belgium still needed only one goal to win first place in the group, but Seferovic put it beyond the reach of the opponent, hoping to return to the 84th minute.

There was still time for Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer to be forced to face Eden Hazard and Belgian Michy Batshuayi, but the hosts held out and almost came in sixth when Denis Zakaria was dismissed at point-blank range by Thibaut Courtois.

Austria ends with victory

Earlier on Sunday, Valentino Lazaro scored a winning goal in Austria's 2-1 win over Northern Ireland in an undefeated match in Belfast that Marko Arnautovic described as a "fight."

Northern Ireland had already been relegated from Group B3, while Austria had the guarantee of finishing second.

"We can be proud of the victory. We wanted to come here, to finish well with a win and we did it," said Arnautovic, West Ham striker. Sky Sports.

"He (Northern Ireland midfielder Gareth McAuley) tried to stifle me, tried to fight me, I do not know why. It's not good to fight me."


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