Switzerland have been disappointing at the 2014 World Cup finals so far, and Xherdan Shaqiri has been the fall guy.
Although the Swiss kicked off their campaign in Brazil with victory over Ecuador at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasília, they actually had to come from behind to pick up the points.
A 93rd-minute goal from Haris Seferovic saw Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side register a narrow 2-1 win, but they were exposed in their next Group E clash against France.
The Swiss were destroyed by the 1998 World Cup winners at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador in front of over 50,000 spectators.
Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka scored two goals in the last 10 minutes to add some respectability to the scoreline, but there was little to celebrate for Switzerland following a 5-2 drubbing by France.
Shaqiri headed into the tournament as his country’s best player. Despite struggling for playing time last season at Bayern Munich, the 22-year-old was built up as the man who would take Switzerland far into the competition.
However, the former Basel star has failed to hit his best form in Brazil and was criticised for his disappointing performance against France.
Rather than take the harsh words on his chin, Shaqiri hit out at his critics, insisting that he should not be singled out for his team’s failure.
‘I am satisfied with my performance’, Goal.com quotes the youngster as saying. ‘[But] one must not expect me to decide the games alone... I do not care what is written about me. It is not all dependent on me’.
Liverpool have been linked with a £15 million move for Shaqiri and there are reports suggesting that they have instigated talks with Bayern. But should his latest comments change Reds manager Brendan Rodgers’ mind?
Shaqiri’s performance against France was poor (as demonstrated by his stats below), and although he is right in saying that he could not carry the Swiss team on his own against a superior France side, he should take more responsibility. After all, he is his team’s biggest name at the World Cup.
|Opponents||Goals||Assists||Successful Dribbles||Accurate Crosses||Touches||Successful Final-Third Passes||Mins|
Will Rodgers be pleased to know that the player he (reportedly) wants to sign is one who refuses to take responsibility for a heavy defeat, and one who claims that he is ‘satisfied’ with his performance? How many Spanish players said that they were ‘satisfied’ with their displays after the 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands?
However, the fact that Shaqiri claims that he is not swayed one way or the other by media criticisms will be welcomed by Rodgers.
In Luis Suarez, the Northern Irishman has one of the best strikers in the world, but also a player who has still not got over what he perceives was unfair treatment by the English press.
Back in January 2013, Mario Balotelli left Manchester City slamming the English press of being too critical of him and not giving him enough privacy.
Both Suarez and Balotelli were (and are) affected by the English media, but it appears that media criticisms do not have any impact on Shaqiri - at least, he says so.
Switzerland will now face Honduras in their final Group E game on Wednesday. Perhaps, Shaqiri will hit back at his critics with a brilliant display.