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29 February 2012
• STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern, Bern
Referee: F. Meyer
• Attendance: 31000
X. Shaqiri 49'
L. Messi 20', 88', 90'+
Thank you for joining us here on Goal.com for our LIVE text commentary on Argentina's 3-1 win over Switzerland in Bern. Make sure to stick with us for all the post-match news and analysis, including match report and player ratings. My name is Tom Webber and it has been a pleasure to guide you through tonight's action.
And that is it the game is over. Two late goals from Messi give the scoreline a bit more polish than it possibly deserved. Nevertheless he was in fine form in a solid Argentina display. Shaqiri and Xhaka performed admirably for Switzerland but a couple of howlers from Affolter late on gifted Argentina the win.
90' + 3'
Assist Gonzalo Higuaín
90' + 3'
Penalty Goal Lionel Messi
GOOOOAAAALL!!! MESSI HAT-TRICK!! The Argentine striker caps a solid outing for the Seleccion with a cool penalty that sent Wolfli the wrong way.
90' + 2'
PENALTY!! Another counter from Argentina sees Switzerland stretched at the back and it's Affolter again who brings down Higuain in the area.
Shaqiri puts the ball into the box with a free kick from wide on the right but it is far too deep and goes out of play for a white shirt can get on the end of it. Three minutes of additional time to be played.
Assist Sergio Agüero
Goal Lionel Messi
GOOOOOAAAAALLLL!!! MESSI!! He has got his second of the night and what a finish. Affolter is far too lax in defence and loses possession, allowing Messi to run at Senderos. He canters past him as he moves to the left side of the box before dinking a shot right into the top corner that goes in off the bar. Beautiful finish.
It looks like Derdiyok has done himself some damage with his shot their. He seemed to twist at an awkward angle as he shot past Garay and is unlikely to return to the field before full time.
DERDIYOK!! JUST WIDE!! Mascherano is caught napping and allows the Leverkusen too much space at the top of the box. Rodriguez finds him but Derdiyok's ferocious shot sails wide of Romero's post.
Well held by Wolfli! Senderos gives the ball straight to Messi and the Barcelona man runs straight at the defence. He lays the ball of to Salvio to his left who cuts in onto his right and sends an attempt at the bottom corner but the Switzerland keeper is equal to it.
The movement just is not there for Argentina in attack now. They rely on a charge into the box from Zabaleta but he is dealt with well by Affolter and nothing comes of it.
Shaqiri is once more the danger man for Switzerland. Zabaleta has struggled to deal with him despite a decent game at left-back. He cuts in from the right and aims a shot low at Romero's near post. The Argentina keeper gets down to the ball to save easily.
AGUEEERROOOOO!! Great save! The Man City striker plucks the ball down in the area and is swarmed upon by white shirts. He manages to spot a gap and stabs the ball towards Wolfli's goal. The keeper reacts well to tip the ball over top for a corner.
Yellow Card Gökhan Inler
The game has gone a bit stale since the equaliser. Stocker turns well into the area to get away from Salvio but they try to do too much with the ball in the area and fail to get a shot at Romero.
The first long ball of the night goes forward from Argentina. Fernandez tries to find Messi from front to back but he has no chance in the air against the Switzerland defenders.
Messi and Rodriguez are doing there best to try and break through the Switzerland defence but they are staying compact and closing the space well. A couple of opportunities are lost as the final ball falls short.
Super ball from Inler is clipped over the top of Fernandez and almost falls to Derdiyok as he peeled off the defender. The ball falls just out of his reach though and what could have been a beautiful goal is lost.
Messi gets another opportunity to run at the defence and plays the ball out to Rodriguez on the left. He puts the ball onto his right foot but strikes the ball straight into Lichtsteiner.
Great strike! Messi and Aguero's link-up just is not there at the moment but they keep on plugging away. Messi's ball is only cleared as far as Gago who drills a shot on goal. It is straight at Wolfli who spills it momentarily but there is no one chasing in.
Oh dear! A fairly unorthodox run-up to a free kick from Derdiyok ends with an awful strike. It was almost over the height of the bar the instant it left his foot. Bit of a waste from the hosts.
The hosts are doing their best to keep the ball into feet and shift their attack from left to right adeptly. Xhaka and Shaqiri have switched flanks but the former could not find the space for a cross from the right.
Switzerland are certainly looking more dangerous though and appear to be in the ascendancy. Shaqiri again gets a cross in to the box and Derdiyok gets on to the end of it but he fails to test Romero.
Well we are certainly in for an even more entertaining half now. How will Argentina respond to a somewhat controversial equaliser? They have plenty about them up top to go and grab some more goals though.
Argentina win a free kick 25 metres from goal and Messi and Sosa stand over it. The latter is the one to take it on but he fires over the bar, similar to Messi's attempt in the first half.
Assist Granit Xhaka
Goal Xherdan Shaqiri
... GOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!! SHAQIRI!! Xhaka centre's the ball from wide on the left and Derdiyok swings at it but misses the ball. It ends up being a nice lay-off for Shaqiri who runs onto the ball and fires into the roof of the net emphatically. Sabella is not pleased presumably due to the 'foul' on Aguero at the start of the move.
Rodriguez shapes to shoot but sends a ball to the back post from out on the left. It is cleared away and Aguero counters but looks to be fouled. Nothing is given, Switzerland go up the other end and ...
It looks like Derdiyok did not warm up properly. He has only been on the pitch for 100 seconds and he is already limping and holding his hamstring. He will no doubt stay on and try to run it off.
The second half is underway. Brana has been withdrawn and Fernando Gago will now come into the middle.
Welcome back, the second half is just moments away. Remember to send all your comments and thoughts to me via twitter @thwebber.
A decent half of football there and surely more to come. Join me in 15 minutes for the second half. Send me your thoughts and predictions via twitter @thwebber.
The half-time whistle goes and Argentina lead through a fantastic Messi strike. Sabella will be pleased with his side's performance as they countered well in the first part of the half before going on to control possession. Switzerland are by no means out of this one though.
Just one minute of added time here in Bern.
Time seemed to stand still there. Sosa was just standing on the ball in the Switzerland area before Messi made his run across the defenders to the near post. He took a couple of touches to eke out an opening but ends up shooting straight into the defenders.
Just over the bar! Some great wing-play from Shaqiri as he shimmies away from Zabaleta on the right flank. He drives to the byeline and sends in a great cross. The ball is flicked on and Xhaka fires a volley at goal but the ball was a bit too high and he could not control his effort fully.
Switzerland have looked a bit less threatening since going behind. Lichtsteiner and Shaqiri try to combine down the right but the former's pass goes out of play.
Great strike! Rodriguez is not closed down on the ball 35 metres from goal. He looks up and sees no options so strikes for goal. He cuts across the ball with his left foot in attempt to bend it out and in but it goes the wrong side of the post. Romero probably had that covered too.
Sosa spots Aguero's darting run in the area but it is matched for every step by Senderos. The Manchester City striker cannot turn the big defender and he relays the ball to Sosa who moves it back to build another attack.
Brana gets caught on the ball in his own half by Xhaka and the ball falls to Mehmedi. He carries the ball towards goal but opts to shoot early from 30 metres. His attempt is well off target and the attack is wasted.
Switzerland win a corner after Shaqiri puts the ball into the box and Garay, under no pressure, misjudges his header. Zabaleta does his best to avoid the outcome but it is not enough. However Shaqiri's corner is gathered easily by Romero.
Superb play! Aguero and Messi are certainly on the same wavelength tonight. They seem to be able to track the other's movements and predict them too. A few snappy passes offers Messi the chance to waltz into the box. His cross-cum-shot is cleared away though as Aguero did not follow in.
It looks like Brana has recovered from the knock he took early on. Or there was no such thing at Gago was just trying to stay warm! Argentina are beginning to control possession now and are looking pretty impressive.
Aguero does well to turn away from Affolter but is all alone as he goes for goal. Due to his lack of options the Switzerland defenders close in and dispossess him.
Sabella's men are leaving the vast majority of attacking up to Aguero and Messi with Sosa and Rodriguez getting forward in turn to aid them. Switzerland do need to pick up Messi when he drops deep or he will be running at them all night.
Switzerland look to peg Argentina straight back and Xhaka's cross-field pass finds Shaqiri in space on the right. He tries to cut inside but cannot get the beating of Garay who makes a great challenge.
Assist Sergio Agüero
Goal Lionel Messi
GOOOOAAAAALLLL!!! MESSI! Great goal for Argentina but oh so simple. Dribbling from deep again he passes the ball into Aguero who holds the ball before rolling the ball back with his heel for Messi. The Barcelona icon shows great composure to pick his spot in the bottom corner. He has had a great start to the game.
Messi again dribbles forward and Argentina find themselves with a man over to his right. He plays in Sosa who sends a shot across goal for the far corner. Senderos does well to cover though and comes across, closing the angle and blocking the shot.
How unfortunate. Brana wins the ball back at the top of the box and Messi slips a ball to Rodriguez. However, Aguero is standing in an offside position and gets in the Liverpool man's way and offside is awarded.
Fernandez gives away a free kick deep in his half and Shaqiri looks to clip it into the box. No one is on the end of it though and Argentina get the goal kick.
Argentina try to build an attack with some intricate passes close to the Switzerland box, wide on the right. Brana is involved but the move eventually breaks down. Some decent passing football there though.
It looks like Gago is warming up on the sideline. It could well mean that Brana has picked up a knock and may be coming off.
Sosa plays a pass down into the left corner that Senderos looks to shepherd out. He does not notice Aguero closing in rapidly until the last moment. He manages to keep the ball close but some great closing from the Manchester City striker.
Switzerland have started fairly well here. They are not overawed by the opposition and are holding onto the ball well in the opposing half. They play the ball back to Benaglio though and he hoofs it forward for Mehmedi but Fernandez draws a free kick.
Dzemaili is closed down 25 metres from goal and his effort ricochets to Shaqiri out on the right. He bends a great ball in to the back post and Romero comes to claim but Garay does not here is call. The two brush past each other and Romero eventually collects the ball.
... Messi strikes it for the top corner but it is not quite as accurate as his strike at Atletico Madrid at the weekend. The ball flies over the top and Benaglio always had it covered.
Frei gives away a dangerous free kick on the edge of the box. What can Argentina make of this? Messi is standing over it ...
Argentina look to sting a few passes together patiently in their own half but they lose possession and Mehmedi almost manages to squeeze into the box. Some strong defending keeps the striker at bay though.
The game is underway at Stade de Suisse and within 20 seconds Switzerland get a shot on target. Frei pushes down the left before laying the ball to Xhaka. His shot is straight down the middle of Romero's goal who stops it comfortably.
The minute silence for the lives lost during a train crash in Once, Buenos Aires last week was well observed. Kick off in a matter of moments.
The teams are out on the pitch and kick off is just moments away!
Napoli duo Fernandez and Campagnaro start in defence for Argentina though their team-mate Ezequiel Lavezzi did not make the squad. His performances against Chelsea and Inter in recent weeks will surely have him at the forefront of Sabella's mind however.
Switzerland meanwhile will be pleased to have the chance to test themselves against some strong opposition after failing to qualify for Euro 2012 this summer. They lost out to England and Montenegro who took the top two spots in their qualifying group.
Argentina have had a stuttering start to their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign. A loss to Venezuela and a draw with Bolivia are not the kind of results you would expect from the Seleccion. No doubt Sabella will be given plenty of time to find the winning formula though.
Not the strongest Argentine line-up ever as Sabella searches for his favoured defence. Higuain starts from the bench though in a 4-4-2 Aguero and Messi are the form strikers.
After much suspense, Argentina start with Messi and Aguero in attack: Romero; Campagnaro, Fernandez, Garay, Zabaleta; Rodriguez, Brana, Mascherano, Sosa; Aguero, Messi.
It will be particularly interesting to see how Basel youth products Shaqiri and Xhaka, the former soon to join Bayern Munich, will perform tonight. They could be the key to a positive result for the hosts tonight.
Here is how Ottmar Hitzfeld has set his Switzerland team out for tonight: Benaglio; Lichtsteiner, Senderos, Affolter, Rodriguez; Shaqiri, Inler, Dzemaili, Frei; Xhaka; Mehmedi.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE text commentary on tonight's international friendly between Switzerland and Argentina in Bern. My name is Tom Webber and I will be guiding you through tonight's action as Alejandro Sabella's side look for a return to form.
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