Skilled players with the ball, great commitment, skill in the game and a brand of rivalry: these are the ingredients for a great football match, offered by the Swiss national team and Serbia, on Friday, December 2, at the 974 Stadium in St. Doha.
For this final act of Group G, the final score before the knockout phase, which begins on Saturday, Natty grabbed 16th.e And the last ticket to the round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar. He won (3-2) against the Eagles in a tight game with rebounds.
In the second group game, Cameroon created a sensation to win (1-0) against a rejuvenated Brazil team – the Seleção have already booked their ticket for the rest of the competition at the end of the second day. Despite Vincent Aboubacar’s late goal, the indomitable Lions failed to finish third, with four points – two behind Switzerland, who beat them on the opening day of the tournament.
Serbia-Switzerland in the decisive match of the World Cup… the taste of revenge was in the air. Natty had already beaten the Eagles in Russia four years earlier and their players’ goal celebration had sparked controversy.
Victims of racist chants from some Serbian fans during the match, Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri responded by imitating the Albanian double-headed eagle, a reference to their origins (the two players are actually from Kosovo, which their families left. The war in the 1990s, when it was a province of Serbia, populated mostly by Albanians with speakers).
Back in 2022, selection holders Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri said they would no longer make the gesture. The other kept his word on Friday when he opened an account in this “remake”. Served by Djibril Sauce in the box, the former player of Olympique Lyonnais, now at the club Chicago Fire, finished with a first line shot from the inside of his left foot (0-1, 20).e).
This match, which started with three chances for the Nats at full time, even after 25 seconds of the game, the intensity did not decrease, on the contrary. A quarter of an hour after opening the score, Serbia completely changed the situation, thanks to two passes by the captain, Dušan Tadic: the first over Aleksandar Mitrović (1-1, 26).e), in the race for second selection rising star Dusan Vlachovic (2-1, 35).e), which places an unstoppable crossfire for Gregor Kobel, who has been living in Swiss cages in the absence of an ailing Jan Sommer.
“The best Swiss team ever”
At this point in the evening, Serbia has effectively qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup, something that has not happened in its three previous appearances (2006 as Serbia-Montenegro, 2010 and 2018). But it was Brill Embolo’s reckoning, who took advantage of Sylvan Widmer’s silverware service at the far post to equalize before half-time (2-2, 44).e).
Then comes the fifth goal of the evening, one of the most beautiful since the start of the World Cup. Breel Embolo fights for the ball back in the opponent’s box. He pivots to Xherdan Shaqiri, who completes a “shadow” pass to Vargas in the box. Blind, the latter replaces Remo Froiler: the Nottingham Forest player finishes the action with a cross (2-3, 48).e). This will be the main event of the evening.
As in the previous match, which saw Cameroon come back from 3-1 down to 3-3, Serbia suffered. As the minutes pass, he seems more resigned. The five substitutes fielded by coach Dragan Stojkovic doesn’t change anything. In extra time, Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Serbia’s Nikola Milenkovic face each other, everyone gets involved… Argentina’s referee Fernando Andres Rapalini is not far away from showing the red card. Nat’s players can rejoice at the final whistle.
“I think we are seeing the best Swiss national team that has ever been”Swiss coach Murat Yakin warned before the tournament. Portugal has been warned. It will be Nat’s next opponent in the round of 16 on Tuesday at 20:00 at the Lusail Stadium. Two teams find themselves at the bottom of the table, which also includes France… beaten by Switzerland at the Euros in July 2021.
Meanwhile, Brazil, who topped Group G (with 6 points), will face South Korea on Monday at 20:00 at the same Stadium 974 in Doha. Serbs will return home with suitcases full of regret.
Source: Le Monde
Jason Root is a sports aficionado and a writer at Run Down Bulletin. With a passion for athletic competition and a wealth of knowledge on all things sports, he provides in-depth coverage of the biggest games and events in the world of sports.