Xherdan Shaqiri scored a last-minute winner to give Switzerland one foot in the last 16 of the World Cup after a 2-1 victory over Serbia.
The Stoke City forward kept his cool to put the finishing touch on a brilliant second-half fightback from Vladimir Petkovic's side that began when Granit Xhaka scored a thunderous equaliser early in the second half.
Arsenal midfielder Xhaka defied Switzerland's reputation as a side lacking in attacking threat when he rattled the ball into the net from 25 yards, pulling his team back into a game that had threatened to get away from them.
Aleksandar Mitrovic wreaked havoc in Switzerland's box throughout the first half, scoring the second opportunity presented to him for a Serbia team that looked assured and confident after beating Costa Rica 1-0 in their first game.
But their early energy and poise faded and the defeat leaves Mladen Krstajic's team heading into their last Group E game against Brazil knowing only a win can guarantee them a spot in the knockout stages.
Meanwhile Switzerland will meet already-eliminated Costa Rica and the way they improved throughout the course of this game will give their Bosnian coach every confidence that they can secure the point they need against Costa Rica to be sure of a place in the knockout stages for the second consecutive World Cup.
5 - Xherdan Shaqiri is involved in 5 of Switzerland's last 6 goals at the World Cup (4 goals, 1 assist). Unleashed. pic.twitter.com/AOwLVaBTf3— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 22, 2018
Switzerland failed to deal with the threat of Mitrovic as the Newcastle United striker terrorised their defence from the outset, drawing a reaction save from Yann Sommer after five minutes and then finding the net shortly after.
Dusan Tadic burst down the right and checked back onto his left foot to whip in a cross that Mitrovic met with a well-aimed header into the left side of the net beyond Sommer's reach.
Blerim Dzemaili dragged a shot wide from inside the penalty area as Switzerland began to probe for a way back into the game, but Serbia pressed and harried them and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic fired narrowly wide with a rising 20-yard drive.
With almost half an hour played Steven Zuber found a hole in the Serbia defence and threaded a pass for Dzemaili who drew a good one-handed save from Vladimir Stojkovic down to the goalkeeper's right.
Switzerland were fortunate to go in only 1-0 down at half-time, though, after a corner found Dusko Tosic unmarked at the far post, only for the defender to scuff wide.
Having looked tentative in the final third all game, Switzerland were anything but after 52 minutes when Shaqiri's shot rebounded back to Xhaka and the midfielder let fly from 25 yards, bulging the far corner of the net with a curling drive.
Shaqiri hit the frame of the goal with a bending effort of his own before Mitrovic was denied an opportunity at the other end by some extremely close marking, the 23-year-old being wrestled to the ground by Fabian Schar and Stephan Lichtsteiner at the far post with no protection from the officials.
Switzerland substitute Mario Gavranovic was flagged offside as he hit the side-netting with what looked like a golden opportunity, but the break seemed to put the wind in the Swiss sails.
And, in the final minute of normal time, Gavranovic played a superb throughball to Shaqiri, who outpaced Tosic and nutmegged Stojkovic with a low finish that sent the Swiss fans wild and allowed his country to dream of the knockout phase.
Key Opta stats:
- Switzerland's 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position.
- As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded.
- Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat to Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017.
- Switzerland have conceded a goal in three consecutive World Cup games; they had only conceded in three of the previous 10 before this run.
- Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history.
- Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 18 goals in 26 games for club and country in 2018.
- Five of Granit Xhaka's 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box.
- Only Josef Hugi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (four, tied with Robert Ballamann and Andre Abegglen).
24 de febrero 2019
|Pelicans to rest Davis against Lakers|
|Rockets star Harden to miss Warriors clash|
|Eubank dominates DeGale to claim IBO super-middleweight crown|
|Man United clash will not decide Premier League title – Klopp|
|Solskjaer: Man United must avoid a title drought like Liverpool´s|
|Toulouse extend lead at the top, Stade down La Rochelle|
23 de febrero 2019
|Cruyff instilled Guardiola´s inner belief and desire to win|
|Treviso slay Dragons to go second, Blues stun Edinburgh|
|Tuchel happy with Verratti-Paredes partnership|
|Hodgson never expected to become Premier League´s oldest manager|
|Tigers batter Broncos to go top, Salford storm back to win|
|WATCH: Cantlay goes close to hole-in-one on par four|
|Rafinha confused and disappointed over lack of Bayern Munich opportunities|
|Bayern confirm Coman hamstring tear|
|Puel remaining positive despite Leicester losing again at home|
|Sloane Stephens vents as delayed flight leaves race to reach Acapulco|
|Valverde dismisses Solari complaints over fixture scheduling|
|Van Uytvanck battles into Budapest final|
|Patriots´ Devin McCourty reacts to Robert Kraft´s solicitation charges: ´Let it play out´|
|West Brom 0 Sheffield United 1: Dowell sends Blades back to second|
|Gatland happy for ´special´ Wales to stay under the radar|
|Eddie Jones rues England´s ill-discipline|
|Leicester City 1 Crystal Palace 4: Eagles mark Hodgson milestone with convincing win|
|Mbappe should have scored four or five - Tuchel|
|Sharks down Blues, Stormers clinch it at the last|
|Tsitsipas sets up Kukushkin decider in Marseille|
|Valverde sings Messi´s praises after 50th hat-trick|
|Wolves penalty was cruel on Bournemouth - Howe|
|Ismaily 1 CS Constantine 1: Hamdi own goal denies Egyptians victory|
|Record-breaking Wales fight back to beat England|
|Heidel stepping down as Schalke sporting director|
|Benitez: A great day for Almiron|
|Chiefs pounce on Sarries setback, Quins make it four in a row|
|Paris Saint-Germain 3 Nimes 0: Mbappe reaches Ligue 1 milestone|
|Kovac waiting on Coman tests after winger lasts nine minutes against Hertha|
|Championship Review: Leeds, Norwich both win|
|Messi insists LaLiga is not over despite downing Sevilla with 50th career hat-trick|
|Brilliant Bencic outlasts Kvitova to complete week of Dubai upsets|
|Sevilla 2 Barcelona 4: Messi hat-trick saves LaLiga leaders|
|Bournemouth 1 Wolves 1: King goes from penalty hero to villain|
|Newcastle United 2 Huddersfield Town 0: Magpies four clear of drop as Almiron sparkles|
|Zazai and Afghanistan smash records galore in thumping victory over Ireland|
|Dyche: Burnley have restored key core values|
|Kohli warns India over ´bad habits´ in IPL|
|Bayern Munich 1 Hertha Berlin 0: Martinez sends champions level at top|
|France bounce back as Scotland suffer familiar Paris pain|
|It was obvious! - Lloris furious at Dean decision|
|Maybe the cables crossed in my brain - Pochettino explains Dean row|
|Captaining Ireland an incredible honour - O´Mahony|
|Zazai´s 162 leads Afghanistan to record T20I total|
|Benitez: Ashley and I need to be on the same page|
|Burnley 2 Tottenham 1: Barnes hits late winner after Kane´s goalscoring return|
|Simeone has no gripe with Ronaldo over Atletico Madrid insult|
|Icardi remains sidelined for Inter´s Fiorentina trip|
|Sangakkara leads Sri Lanka plaudits after historic triumph|
|Solari still committed to LaLiga title race|
|Allegri calls on Juventus to ´do something extraordinary´ after Atletico loss|
|DeRozan humbled by reception on bittersweet Raptors return|
|Du Plessis laments lacklustre Proteas display|
|Hard work pays off for Karunaratne´s Sri Lanka|
|De Laurentiis aims jibe at Juventus and Ronaldo|
|BREAKING NEWS: Kane returns for Spurs at Burnley|
|Champions Crusaders outclass Hurricanes|
|Sri Lanka make history with series win in South Africa|
|Mane: Putting pressure on ourselves won´t help Liverpool|
|Thunder´s George: That was a statement|
|Leclerc ready to battle for top Ferrari billing|
|Man United outing was a learning experience – Alexander-Arnold|
|Redknapp expects more twists as under-pressure Liverpool seek to end title drought|
|Chelsea v Manchester City: Myopic Blues should show Sarri faith regardless of Wembley result|