Switzerland beat Serbia in a thrilling encounter to book their place in the last 16 of the World Cup.
Doha: Switzerland booked a last-16 clash with Portugal at the World Cup on Friday after beating Serbia 3-2 in a tense match to finish second in Group G.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s deflected strike put the Swiss ahead but Aleksandar Mitrovic’s fine header brought Serbia level at the Stadium 974.
Dusan Vilhovic then leveled Serbia before half-time with a header from Brill Mbolo.
Remo Freuler’s stunning goal early in the second half sent the Swiss into the knockout rounds for the fourth time in five World Cups.
Bad blood marred the meeting between the teams at the 2018 tournament, when Granit Xhaka and Shaqiri celebrated goals with pro-Kosovo gestures that angered the Serbs.
Tempers flared after Serbia appealed for a penalty in the second half on Friday, with the stadium announcer calling for an end to “all discriminatory chants and gestures” after about 15 minutes.
Switzerland, with their destiny in their own hands, struck within 30 seconds but Mbolo’s effort was well blocked by Vanja Mlinkovic-Savic, who blocked the follow-up from Xhaka.
Serbia’s Andreja Živoković rattled the post from distance with a sweet curling effort and Vlahoč curled the rebound straight into the arms of goalkeeper Gregor Kobel.
Shaqiri missed Switzerland’s 1-0 defeat to Brazil but made a blistering comeback, firing in front on 20 minutes.
Ricardo Rodriguez flicked a cross into the box which was cleared straight to Gabriel So, leaving Shaqiri to sweep home through the leg of Strahanja Pavlovic in front of the Serbian fans.
This time there was no double eagle signal. Instead, Shaqiri put a finger to his lips and pointed at the name on his shirt as a handful of bottles rained down.
Serbia counter-attacked within minutes when Switzerland lost the ball in midfield, Dusan Tadic stooping in a cross for Mitrovic to meet brilliantly and nod into the far corner.
Shaqiri headed wide under Pavlovic’s pressure after timing his run to meet Rodriguez’s raking diagonal pass, but the Swiss then paid for another lapse in concentration.
They regained possession and Frewler looked on in frustration as his effort only set up Vlahovic to roll the ball past Cobble.
But Switzerland equalized a minute before the break when Sue picked out Sloan Widmer in acres of space on the right and his low cross was headed in by Mbolo.
The Cameroon-born striker’s pressure on a lumbering Pavlovic gave Switzerland their third goal shortly after half-time, a team effort completed by Freuler.
Shaqiri clipped in a delicate ball as Embolo won it back over the top, and Ruben Vargas’ cushioned backheel left Freyler to guide from around the penalty spot.
Serbia appealed in vain for a penalty as Mitrovic fell to the ground in the theatre, causing an ugly flashpoint that led to the booking of Serbia’s reserve goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic.
Substitute Christian Fassnacht wasted a late chance to ease Swiss nerves when he was cleared on goal.
An unusual feud between Xhaka and Nikola Milenkovic threatened to boil over, but in the end the Swiss got over the line to set up a date with Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.