FIFA World Cup 2022: Group G runners-up Switzerland advanced to their third consecutive World Cup knockout round with a 3-2 win over Serbia on Friday to set up a last-16 showdown with Portugal. In a fast-paced contest, Xherdan Shagiri put Switzerland ahead but Serbia turned the game around with two goals in 10 minutes from Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic.
By pulling level with Switzerland before the break Briel Embolo provided another twist, but Remo Pooler restored their one-goal advantage three minutes after the restart. Switzerland fired warning shots with just 30 seconds on the clock, captain Granit Xhaka’s strike was blocked by the Serbian defense and goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic denied both Xhaka and Xhaka on the rebound.
Serbia enjoyed the pressure after that early scare, with Nikola Milenkovic heading wide from a Dusan Tadic corner before Andrija Ziv Kovic took aim from outside the penalty area and hit the left post with a powerful effort. In the 20th minute, Ricardo Rodriguez’s cross was cleared and fell to Djibril Sou, who outplayed Shaqiri on the right.
Midfielder Strahinja Pavlovic narrowly missed the goal. Fulham frontman Mitrovic headed in a Tadic cross to put Serbia level six minutes later. Tadic rejoined and slipped the ball to Vahovic, who fired a low shot past goalkeeper Gregor Kobel and the Serbian turned the ball around.
But Embolo turned home Silvan Widmire’s low cross in the 44th minute and Froller kept the momentum going by scoring his fifth goal of the evening, two brilliantly worked moves from the Swiss attack proving Serbia’s undoing. Midway through the second half, Mitrovic went down fairly easily after a challenge from Fabian Scare, but his appeal for a penalty was turned down and the Serbian dugout spilled onto the pitch to protest the referee’s decision.
Switzerland finished with six points, level with Group G winners Brazil, but trailing on goal difference. Needing a win to give themselves a fighting chance, Serbia finished bottom of the group with just one point. They never got past the World Cup group stage after the breakup of Yugoslavia.