Switzerland qualified for the eighth finals after defeating Serbia in a beautiful and sometimes heated duel
Watch the Serbia-Switzerland summary here
In a direct duel for a place in the eighth finals, Switzerland won 3-2 against Serbia. A great duel that was observed up and down especially before the break, with beautiful goals and sometimes excellent football. Switzerland, second in Group G, will meet Portugal in the round of 16. Brazil are the group winners, and Serbia flies home.
Prior to that, the question was how intense the battle between the Swiss and the Serbs would be. In the 2018 World Cup, lethargic feelings between the two teams were still smoldering. Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka made politically charged hand gestures while celebrating their goals.
They formed an eagle with their hands, a reference to their Albanian roots in Kosovo. A provocation that the Serbs did not appreciate. Relations between Albania and Kosovo on the one hand, and Serbia on the other, remain very sensitive.
No major disturbances
Although Shaqiri was whistled at every ball contact, and after more than an hour of play things got briefly out of hand with backup goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic arguing with Denis Zakaria there were no major upsets. In stoppage time, some players were still face to face. But by that time most of it had already been decided.
It was also an interesting game in terms of football. Thirty seconds later, it was already clear that it was a sit-down duel for her. Swiss striker Briel Empolo got the ball in front of his feet and managed to shoot, but goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic was too sharp from the first second. Ten minutes later, Serbia hit the post.
View all goals here:
It was Shaqiri himself, who shot in the leg after a break on the right from Ruben Vargas and a little bit from Djibril Sow. With his finger on his mouth he walked away as he exclaimed. The due score didn’t fall 1-1 much after that. Aleksandar Mitrović was excellent to his man and nodded the ball into the long post.
Shugairi’s loss of possession saw the Serbian take the lead after ten minutes. Dusan Vlahović’s shot rebounded into the far corner. The match was up and down and the goals could not be missed. Embolo hit the far post after a superb attack from Switzerland.
The best of the evening came shortly after the break. A Brazilian attack, a quick combination set up by Shakiri, called it straight for the Serbian goal, and it ended up with Remo Freuler, who could have shot easily: 3-2.
After that, the duel became sticky. The combination of football and speed was a bit off. Switzerland was not necessary. Serbia wanted it, but in fact it could not. Nor has Captain Dusan Tadic accomplished much. The Ajax midfielder was taken off with twenty minutes left.
Irritations, especially fatigue, slowly increased among the Serbs. The Swiss simply finished the match. In the depths of injury time, the irritation ratcheted up a bit. Strahinja Pavlović got into a fight with Xhaka. Zakaria patted the Serb on his forehead, but the referee was lenient and kept two yellow cards.
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