Ecuador edged, Swiss score a hat trick, and Argentina wins thriller to finish on top | World Cup Day Fourteen Recap

Messi scores twice as Argentina pick up third win, and France and Switzerland advance

Here is a recap of Day 14 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

ARGENTINA 3 NIGERIA 2

Lionel Messi scored twice in the first half as Argentina defeated Nigeria 3-2 in one of the more thrilling group stage matchups of the tournament. Given less than a punchers chance against the mighty Albiceleste, Nigeria stood toe to toe with the tournament favorites as Ahmed Musa’s brace helped the Super Eagles hold a 2-2 draw until the 50th minute. In the end, Argentina’s class was too great as Marcos Rojo tallied five minutes into the second half to give Argentina the win and a 3-0-0 record in group play. By virtue of Iran’s loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria is through to the round of 16.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 3 IRAN 1

Bosnia and Herzegovina salvaged some pride in Brazil with a 3-1 victory over Iran that ended Team Melli’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage. Needing a win against the Dragons to go through to the Round of 16, Iran was forced to press the European side, leaving themselves open on the counter. Bosnia made the Iranians pay in the 23rd minute as Edin Džeko found the back of the net with Miralem Pjanić doubling the lead in the 59th minute. Iran received some hope in the 82nd minute when Reza Ghoochannejhad scored the team’s first and only goal of the tournament, but the dreams of a rally were crushed seconds later when Bosnia struck on the counter from a goal by Avdija Vršajević.

FRANCE 0 ECUADOR 0

France ended Ecuador’s hopes of the knockout stage as they played La Tri to a scoreless draw eliminating them from the World Cup. Needing a win to advance, Ecuador attempted to press forward, but instead it was the French with multiple opportunities to break the deadlock. Ecuador’s hopes were dealt a blow in the 50th minute when Antonio Valencia was sent off for a reckless tackle on Lucas Digne. Down a man, Ecuador was unable to find the goal that they needed to avoid becoming the only South American side to fail to qualify for the knockout round. As a reward for winning Group E, France will face Group F runners-up Nigeria next Monday at the Estádio Nacional de Brasilia.  

SWITZERLAND 3 HONDURAS 0

Xherdan Shaqiri’s hat trick powered Switzerland into the last 16 with a confident 3-0 victory over Honduras in the final game to be played in the Amazonian metropolis of Manaus. Los Catrachos ended their nightmare World Cup campaign in poor fashion as the Swiss dominated from start to finish. Shaqiri terrorized the shambolic Honduran defense repeatedly in the first half as he tallied in the sixth minute and then again in the 31st minute to give the Swiss a two-goal lead at the half. The 22-year-old completed the 50th hat trick in World Cup history in the 71st minute of play to give the Europeans the victory. As runners-up in Group E, Switzerland will face Argentina next Tuesday at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo.

Day 15 at the World Cup features four matches including the make-or-break matchup between the United States and Germany in Recife at 9:00 a.m. PT. Simultaneously; Group G rivals Ghana and Portugal will look keep their World Cup hopes alive at the Estádio Nacional de Brasilia. At 1:00 p.m. PT, Group H action ends as group leaders Belgium face Korea Republic while Russia faces off against Algeria. A draw for the Desert Foxes will see them through to the next round.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.