Switzerland got into the round of 16 as second in the group. They needed a point against Serbia, which was only worth winning, but the Swiss did not speculate. They went for the game from the first minute and took it away in a high-voltage duel that went from power to power, especially the first half.
The night in Doha also brought a nod to the past. These same teams met in Kaliningrad in the World Cup in Russia (the group was the same as this year, swapping Costa Rica for Cameroon) and then Switzerland also won with goals like yesterday from Shaquiri and another from Hhaka, the two Kosovar Albanians from the Swiss team . Both celebrated it with signs that FIFA interpreted as politicians supporting the Kosovar cause and were sanctioned.
If something characterizes the Swiss team, it is its defensive strength and how uncomfortable it is for the rival. However, Murat Yakin's team yesterday was different. He came out at full speed and in the first minute he was able to score the earliest goal of the World Cup but Milinkovic-Savic, the Serbian goalkeeper born in Ourense, prevented him with two great saves in shots first by Embolo and then by Shaqiri.
The whole game, especially the first half, was an exchange of blows, with very fast transitions and no elaboration in the midfield. After ten minutes Zivkovic lashed the post and Switzerland replied with a goal after 20 minutes from a run by Ricardo Rodríguez's wing, a feint from Sow and a tight shot from Shaquiri.
The goal against stojkovic's team faced. The pressure from their midfielders made Switzerland back into their half and Serbia found the tie at 26 with a great cross from Tadic and a header from Mitrovic. Switzerland reacted badly to the goal. Serbia had come up and kept insisting again and again before the break. An error by the Swiss defense led to another Serbian goal before the break, a cross shot by Vlahovic that was not very strong but caught goalkeeper Kobel, Sommer's substitute, in the wrong position.
But the emotions did not end there. Switzerland equalized one minute from the break through Embolo and everything remained to be done in the second half, which began with a goal from Freuler after three minutes.
There, Serbia accused the coup in a terrible way. Stojkovic introduced all possible changes. He even sent Jovic out, but his team did not know how to get back into the game, which was left at the expense of the Swiss counterattacks.
Switzerland did not know how to give the finishing touch and the game ended with a tangana, but the Swiss did not care a bit. They will be in the round of 16, against Cristiano's Portugal.