Qatar 2022: Switzerland beat Serbia and will meet Portugal in the round of 16


For the third consecutive edition, Switzerland topped the group stage, reached the last 16 of a World Cup in Qatar 2022 and became rivals Portugal, after beating the Serbian team 2-3, who continue to fail to knock down the first round of a major tournament.

The Balkan team, for the third time in a World Cup final stage, left most of their options in the match against Cameroon, which took them to this third day with no margin for error, forced to win against Switzerland, for which a tie was enough. He did so by far and with some superiority.

There were no political demands this time, although it was planned in the environment. Xherdan Shakiri scored, just like Granit Xhaka of Kosovar Albanian origin who celebrated the goals against the Balkan team in Russia 2018 with the gesture of the eagle, symbol of the Albanian flag.

The Chicago Fire kicker scored to open the scoring, but put his index finger to his mouth to keep quiet. The 31-year-old midfielder who arrived to play for Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Liverpool as well as Stoke City and Lyon shortly before embarking on his North American adventure had not played a starring role in Qatar 2022.


Shaqiri was one of the new faces in Murat Yakin’s side alongside goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, who left Yann Sommer on the bench, suffering from groin pains. In the rear also Fabian Schar for Nico Elvedi.

Serbia has put everything on the field to break the curse of the first phase where the Balkan team usually stagnates given that it participates as an independent country. He has never reached the round of 16 in his previous two appearances. For this Dragan Stojkovic turned to Dusan Vlahovic to form an attack from the start with Aleksandar Mitrovic.


There has never been a break. Classification was at stake. It was no small feat for two teams planning to expand their tour into this tournament. The game went to an open grave. No speculation.

This was seen in the first action of the match when the Swiss had a double chance to score with a close-range shot by Breel Embolo and, later, after the clearance by goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, by Granit Xhaka, who was also frustrated by Turin goalkeeper.

Andrija Zivkovic responded shortly after with a shot from outside the box that hit the post. There were two notices. The score was opened and the goals did not stop. First, with Shaqiri’s goal opening the scoring in a play that Ricardo Rodriguez starting from the left picked up Dbrjil Sow after a bad rebound from the defence. He saw his captain, listed. Here is the ball. He shot and scored because a defender deceived Milinkovic Savic.

It took Serbia seven minutes to equalise, with a header that netted Mitrovic after an assist from Dusan Tadic, and another eight to come from behind. It was a defeat on the ball outside Switzerland that caused a rapid Balkan transition. Tadic invents a good deep pass that Silvan Widmer fails to intercept and Vlahovic, who needs very little to score, makes no mistake.


Serbia got the match where they wanted. But Stojkovic’s team has already shown that order does not go with him. It happened against Cameroon, when he abused a two-goal lead that he lost. The same thing happened in Switzerland. They didn’t even make it to half-time with their haul as Breel Embolo’s effort, just on goal, following Widmer’s cross from the left, exposed all of Serbia’s defensive deficiencies.

There was no respite after the break either. The transition from one area to another continued. Switzerland took advantage of this in a great team action from their attack which ended with a pass from Ruben Vargas to Remo Freuler, who beat Vanja Milinkovic Savic for the third time.

Dragan Stojkovic retires Vlahovic and releases Luca Jovic. Also missing are Sergej Milinkovic-Savic for Nemanja Maksinovic and Milos Veljkovic for Nemanja Gudelj.

Serbia tries to grab the ball and puts Switzerland in for a corner, who find order with the presence of Denis Zakaria and Edimilson Fernandes. Time played against the Balkan team, capable of conceding a bigger shot on an occasion from Embolo, only with an empty net, who threw the ball high.

Switzerland saw no danger to their classification. Serbia got entangled in aimless hasty action and ended up unbalanced, tense in the final minutes but without a round of 16.

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