Haris Seferovic netted a hat-trick as Switzerland staged a sensational comeback to thrash Belgium 5-2 in Lucerne on Sunday and qualify for the Nations League finals in dramatic fashion.
Thorgan Hazard’s early double left Switzerland needing to win by two goals to qualify from Group A2 but the hosts quickly fought back, with Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty and Seferovic’s first two goals seeing them into a 3-2 halftime lead.
Nico Elvedi nodded home a Xherdan Shaqiri cross in the 62nd minute, and Vladimir Petkovic’s men sealed a stunning win when Seferovic completed his treble late on.
“I want to congratulate each player, there was a big mental reaction, the players never gave up, they always believed,” said Swiss coach Petkovic. “They played with will, intelligence and with their heads.”
After a thrilling match that continued a trend of goal-filled encounters in the inaugural edition of the Nations League, Switzerland will play at the finals in June next year, alongside European champions Portugal and England, with the final spot going to either France or the Netherlands – who are away at Germany – on Monday.
For Roberto Martinez’s Belgium, their six-match unbeaten run since reaching the World Cup semifinals was brought to a juddering halt.
“We forgot to defend well, we gave Switzerland the opportunity to get back in the game,” Martinez said postmatch.
“We had a lot of excitement, we really wanted to finish top of the group. The disappointment will make us more focused when the (Euro 2020) qualification starts.”