Football.com - everything football

Mehmedi lauds Shaqiri creativity

By Football News



Switzerland striker Admir Mehmedi hailed team-mate Xherdan Shaqiri for producing in an attacking role at the FIFA World Cup.

Shaqiri struck a hat-trick - the 50th in World Cup finals history - as the Swiss downed Honduras 3-0 to qualify for the knockout stages in Brazil.

Mehmedi said Shaqiri's ability to play the number 10 role made the Swiss a more aggressive unit, as they prepare for a round-of-16 clash with Argentina on Tuesday.

"I think Xherdan did his job very well against Honduras, we knew he could play this position," said Mehmedi, who has played out wide in Switzerland's 4-2-3-1 formation so far at the World Cup. 

"With a playmaker, we're a lot more creative in our attacking game. He can spin around very fast and play deep passes. 

"It's clear that I could play this position as well but if the coach decides he wants to play with Shaqiri as number 10, I can't do anything."

Mehmedi said he is relishing a date with Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta.

"He (Zabaleta) is very aggressive in tackles, a very attacking defender but I think the Honduran full-backs were also very offensive," Mehmedi said. 

"I had to work a lot in defence. But it is also clear when a full-back is that attack-minded, there will be spaces for me. I don't need to hide from Zabaleta."

Defender Michael Lang, who has played just 13 minutes so far in Brazil, said he did not blame coach Ottmar Hitzfeld for his lack of game time.

Stephan Lichtsteiner of Juventus is ahead of Lang in the pecking order but the latter said he was putting the team first.

"It did not bother me," Lang said, on Lichtsteiner being ahead of him in the starting line-up.

"This is what I expected for the tournament. There is a very good player in front of me, who is playing for Juventus. 

"I don't want to blame Grasshopper Club Zurich but Juventus is a bigger club. It is about the dream of a nation, about the dream of this team. 

"One single player is not important. You have to do everything for the team. 

"I gave everything in the training sessions, so I think that I deserved my short appearance in the game against Honduras."