Switzerland reached the World Cup knockout spherical for the third successive event after prevailing 3-2 over Serbia on Friday to complete runner-up in Group G and arrange a final 16 showdown with Portugal.
In a contest that ebbed and flowed at breakneck pace within the first half at Stadium 974, Xherdan Shaqiri put Switzerland forward however Serbia swiftly scored twice inside 10 minutes by Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic to flip the sport on its head.
Breel Embolo delivered one other twist in an absorbing opening interval by pulling Switzerland facet degree simply earlier than the break, whereas Remo Freuler scored three minutes after the restart to revive their one-goal benefit once more.
Switzerland had fired warning pictures with barely 30 seconds on the clock, as captain Granit Xhaka’s strike was blocked by the Serbian defence earlier than goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic denied each Embolo one-on-one and in addition Xhaka on the rebound.
Serbia loved a spell of strain after that early scare, with Nikola Milenkovic heading huge from Dusan Tadic’s nook earlier than Andrija Zivkovic took intention from exterior the penalty space and rattled the left submit with a strong effort.
Ricardo Rodriguez’s cross within the twentieth minute was cleared and fell to Djibril Sow, who picked out Shaqiri on the fitting. The midfielder fired house a strike that took a slight deflection off Strahinja Pavlovic on its means into the online.
Fulham frontman Mitrovic headed in Tadic’s cross to deservedly draw Serbia degree six minutes later. Tadic was concerned once more and slipped the ball by to Vlahovic, who steered a low shot previous goalkeeper Gregor Kobel to finish the Serbian turnaround.
However Embolo slotted house Silvan Widmer’s low cross within the forty fourth minute and Freuler stored the momentum going by thumping within the fifth purpose of the night, as two splendidly labored strikes from the Swiss assault proved to be Serbia’s undoing.
Halfway by the second half, Mitrovic went down too simply after a problem from Fabian Schaer however his appeals for a penalty had been turned down, and the Serbian dugout spilled onto the pitch protesting the referee’s determination.
Switzerland completed with six factors, degree with Group G winners Brazil however behind on purpose distinction. Serbia, which wanted a win to present itself a preventing likelihood of advancing, completed backside of the group with just one level. It has by no means moved previous the World Cup group stage for the reason that breakup of Yugoslavia.