MX23RW : Tuesday, December 18 13:57:18

Live Commentary: Serbia 1-2 Switzerland - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live commentary of the 2018 World Cup clash between Serbia and Switzerland from Kaliningrad, which finished 2-1 to Switzerland.
Live Commentary: Serbia 1-2 Switzerland - as it happened
© Reuters

Serbia missed the chance to book their spot in the knockout round of the 2018 World Cup with a match to spare as they lost 2-1 to Switzerland in Group E on Friday night.

Mladen Krstajic's team entered the match knowing that a victory would see them advance to the round of 16, but Granit Xhaka's second-half effort cancelled an early header from Aleksandar Mitrovic, before Xherdan Shaqiri won it for Switzerland in the final minute.

Switzerland have joined Brazil on four points, while Serbia sit third on three points ahead of the final matchday, which sees Switzerland take on already-eliminated Costa Rica, and Serbia lock horns with Brazil.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

6.01pmEvening all! Sports Mole's live 2018 World Cup coverage continues from Kaliningrad as Serbia take on Switzerland in Group E. Serbia opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica, while Switzerland picked up a point against Brazil. Serbia would be through if they can collect all three points tonight, but Switzerland would still be in contention even if they to lose. Stay tuned for live updates!

6.04pmGroup E has already had some action this afternoon, with Brazil recording a 2-0 win over Costa Rica to top the section. The Selecao were once again far from their best, but scored twice in the latter stages through Philippe Coutinho and Neymar to move onto four points from their two group fixtures.

6.07pmTonight will be the first ever meeting between Switzerland and Serbia. That said, Switzerland and Yugoslavia have met on 13 previous occasions, with the Swiss winning six of those fixtures and losing twice. Their only previous World Cup clash was a 3-0 group-stage victory for Yugoslavia back in 1950.

6.10pmRight, without further ado, let me bring you up-to-speed with the team news from Kaliningrad. Have both managers shuffled their pack following their opening Group E matches? Let's have a look...

Serbia's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in training ahead of the 2018 World Cup© Reuters


SERBIA: Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic

SWITZERLAND: Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schar, Akanji, Rodriguez; Behrami, Xhaka; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic

6.16pmSerbia boss Mladen Krstajic made one alteration to the team that started the 1-0 win over Costa Rica last time out, with Filip Kostic taking the place of Adam Ljajic in a wide midfield position. It is otherwise the XI that started the first match, meaning that Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will operate just ahead of Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic in midfield. Aleksandar Mitrovic leads the line, meanwhile.

6.19pmSwitzerland, meanwhile, are unchanged from their 1-1 draw with Brazil last time out. Steven Zuber scored the equaliser against the Selecao and keeps his spot in attack, while Xherdan Shaqiri will operate on the opposite side. It had been suggested that Breel Embolo would come into the XI at centre-forward, but Haris Seferovic again starts as he looks to add to his 12 international goals.


6.25pmSo there we have it. The two teams are in, and we are now just about 35 minutes from kickoff. Let me just run through the current situation in Group E. Brazil are top of the section on four points, with Serbia in second on three points, Switzerland third on one point, and Costa Rica bottom on zero points.

6.28pmSerbia would be through to the knockout round if they beat Switzerland tonight, while Brazil will know exactly what they need to do once this match has finished. Costa Rica, however, have already been eliminated. There is simply no downplaying the importance of tonight's clash in Group E.

6.32pmAs mentioned above, Serbia opened their tournament with a 1-0 win over Costa Rica last time out, with a wonderful free kick from Aleksandar Kolarov deciding the match. There was not an awful lot in the contest, but it was a huge win for the White Eagles, who are certainly capable of matching any team in the tournament on their day. The atmosphere is building as kickoff draws closer here!


6.38pmSerbia's first World Cup as an independent nation was back in 2010, and they failed to make it out of the groups. They were not present in the finals of the 2014 competition, but booked their spot in this summer's tournament by finishing above Republic of Ireland, Wales and Austria during qualification.

6.42pmMladen Krstajic's team will not want to enter their last group match with Brazil on June 27 needing something to book their spot in the next round. Indeed, Switzerland should beat Costa Rica in their final match, and that is again another indication of just how important tonight's clash is for both teams.

6.45pmAs for Switzerland, Vladimir Petkovic's team opened their 2018 World Cup campaign with an impressive 1-1 draw against Brazil last time out. A stunner from Coutinho had sent the five-time world champions ahead, but Zuber levelled for Switzerland with a header early in the second period.


6.52pmSwitzerland reached the quarter-finals of the 1954 World Cup on home soil, but did not actually qualify for the finals between 1970 and 1990. They have reached the knockout round in two of their last three World Cups, however, including the round of 16 in Brazil four years ago.

6.55pmSwitzerland were actually very unfortunate to lose to an extra-time effort from Angel di Maria in their last-16 clash with Argentina back in 2014, and have already shown against Brazil that they are more than capable of matching the best teams in the world. The fact that the Swiss have only lost once since Euro 2016 shows that they are a side to be respected. Right, time for the national anthems!

6.58pmHere we go then; we are all set! It is Serbia against Switzerland in Group E, and it really is a big football match when considering what is at stake. Be sure to stay tuned for live updates!

0 minKICKOFF! Switzerland kick things off tonight...

2 min... you do get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital tonight. Serbia break clear down the left through Kolarov, who finds a little pass into Kostic, but the danger is cleared.

4 minMitrovic goes down inside the Switzerland box under pressure from Behrami, but the referee is not interested, and the call from VAR does not arrive. It has been a fairly open first four minutes, with both teams showing their hand in the final third. Two very well-matched teams on display tonight.

5 minThe first shot of the match sees Xhaka strike just over the Serbian crossbar.

5 minSAVE! Super save from Sommer to keep out a header from Mitrovic, who had met a cross from Tadic! Mitrovic did really well to meet it!

5 minGOAL! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland (Mitrovic)

6 minBreakthrough! Mitrovic saw his header saved a moment ago, but the Newcastle United striker has just headed a Tadic cross into the corner of the net. Brilliant work form the strong centre-forward there.

8 minThe response from Switzerland has been pretty good, with Shaqiri breaking into a wide position. However, the Stoke City attacker loses control before bundling Matic to the deck. Free kick Serbia.

10 minCHANCE! Big chance for Switzerland to level as Rodriguez breaks forward before finding Dzemaili in a central position, but the number 15 places the ball wide of the post. Good chance!

12 minI thought that this match would be pretty tight, but both teams have had chances in the opening 12 minutes, and neither defence looks secure at the moment. It has been a wonderful start here.

14 minSeferovic is the target as Switzerland look long, but the number nine is bundled off the ball. Serbia are a huge team in teams of height and power, and Switzerland would do well to keep the ball on the ground here. Just a reminder that a win for Serbia tonight takes them into the knockout round.

15 minAnother header from Mitrovic drops over the Switzerland crossbar. Would have been some goal.

17 minSerbia really do have an impressive midfield when considering the presence of Matic, Milivojevic and Milinkovic-Savic. Kostic has been bright for Serbia in the early stages of this match, and the number 17 has just broken into the Switzerland box before being crowded out. Impressive football.

18 minMilinkovic-Savic fires wide of the Switzerland goal from distance.

20 minA win for Serbia tonight takes them through, but Switzerland can lose and still be in contention. That said, they would have to beat Brazil in their final group match, which is some ask. Zuber finds some space in a wide position for Switzerland, but the attacker is crowded out by Tadic and Ivanovic.

20 minMitrovic goes for the spectacular over-head kick, but his effort was always wide.

22 minNewcastle United might not want Mitrovic, but there will be plenty of club who will this summer if the centre-forward continues to play like this. He has been an absolute monster in a central position.

24 minKostic delivers another low cross into the box following smart work from Tadic, but Akanji manages to make the clearance. You do get the feeling that Switzerland cannot afford to concede again.

26 minRodriguez breaks clear down the left for Switzerland, but Serbia have so many players back that the full-back is forced to cut inside and play backwards. The organisation from Serbia is excellent here.

28 minLittle over 15 minutes of the first period remaining, and Serbia have been the better side. Mitrovic headed the Serbians ahead, and the Newcastle forward has been a real issue for the Swiss defence thus far. Just a reminder that a win for Serbia tonight takes them into the knockout round.

30 minNot an awful lot to report in terms of chances in the last few minutes, but Switzerland are certainly enjoying more of the ball. To be honest though, the Swiss have not really threatened to level here.

31 minSAVE! Huge chance for Switzerland to level as Dzemaili finds Seferovic free inside the Serbia box, but Stojkovic is on hand to make an excellent save. Big chance for the Swiss there!

33 minSerbia just cannot keep the ball at the moment as Switzerland continue to threaten. Another half-chance arrives when Shaqiri feeds Dzemaili, but the midfielder makes a mess of it!

34 minBOOKING! Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia) is booked for a high foot on Lichtsteiner.

36 minSerbia have been sloppy on the ball in the last few minutes, and that is inviting Switzerland forward. Still 1-0 to Serbia, however, as we approach the latter stages of the first period here.

37 minSchar is fortunate to escape a booking for a late challenge on Mitrovic, and the referee has certainly been busy in the last few minutes due to the number of fouls. Free kick Serbia in dangerous area...

37 min... SAVE! Tadic eventually hits one after Kolarov's delivery had been cleared, but Sommer is on hand to make the save. First sign of a Serbia threat for a little while here.

40 minShaqiri goes down inside the Serbia box under a challenge from Mitrovic, but it was super work from the Newcastle forward, and neither the referee nor VAR were interested. It must be said that the first half of this match has absolutely flown past, and Mitrovic's goal remains the difference here.

40 minBOOKING! Milivojevic (Serbia) is booked for a foul on Xhaka.

42 minPoor from Akanji as the Switzerland centre-back delivers into the arms of the Serbia goalkeeper from a wide position. Little under five minutes of the first period remaining in this Group E clash.

43 minTadic dances away from the challenge of Rodriguez before delivering into the Switzerland box, but there are no takers. The same thing then happens on the opposite side, with Matic's cross untouched.

44 minMitrovic heads harmlessly over the Switzerland crossbar as we approach the break.

45 minCHANCE! Huge chance for Tosic to double Serbia's lead, but the centre-back gets his header all wrong! Switzerland had left the defender all alone inside the penalty box.

45+1 minWe are into the first of two additional minutes at the end of the first period.

45+2 minCLOSE! Tadic strikes over the crossbar with a rasping effort!

45+2 minBOOKING! Matic (Serbia) is booked for a foul on Lichtsteiner.

45+3 minHALF-TIME: Serbia 1-0 Switzerland

7.47pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with Serbia leading Switzerland 1-0 courtesy of an early header from Mitrovic. Both teams have had chances to add to the scoring, but Mitrovic's effort is the difference. As it stands, Serbia are booking their spot in the round of 16.

7.52pmSTATISTICS! Switzerland dominated the first-half possession with 62%, while they managed nine attempts, but just one of those was on target. Serbia, meanwhile, hit the target with three of their 10 attempts. Serbia also had all three of their central midfielders booked in the first 45 minutes.

7.57pmBENCH WATCH! Switzerland have a number of attacking options on their bench tonight, with the likes of Embolo, Fernandes, Lang and Zakaria all capable of making a difference in the second period. Serbia, meanwhile, have second-half options in the shape of Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic and Zivkovic.

46 minRESTART! Switzerland resume the action here...

47 min... SWITZERLAND SUB! Gavranovic has replaced Seferovic at the break.

48 minNo changes from Serbia at the interval, which is not much of a surprise. However, I suspect that Krstajic will have alterations in mind as the second period develops in this Group E clash.

50 minSwitzerland work the ball into a forward position, but the move breaks down when Shaqiri loses control. Serbia are very deep at the moment as they look to defend their one-goal advantage.

52 minRodriguez curls the ball harmlessly wide of the Serbia post as Switzerland continue to force the issue in the early stages of the second period. That said, no serious opportunities for either side.

52 minCHANCE! Mitrovic heads a Tadic corner just over the Serbia crossbar!

52 minGOAL! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland (Xhaka)

53 minSwitzerland level the scores as Xhaka finds the back of the net with a brilliant strike from distance!

55 minSwitzerland have been the better side early in the second period, and that was a wonderful strike from Xhaka. We now have a serious game on our hands with 55 minutes on the clock here.

57 minYou do get the feeling that the game's next goal - if it arrives - will be the winner. Switzerland are very much on the front foot here, and their confidence is growing as Serbia give up possession.

59 minLittle over 30 minutes of the second period remaining, and Serbia just need to settle here having conceded. A point would still be a decent result for Serbia, but they will face Brazil in their final group match next week. Switzerland, on the other hand, finish against already-eliminated Costa Rica.

59 minPOST! Oh my word! Shaqiri has just hit the outside of the post with a wonderful strike from a narrow angle! Almost an incredible goal from the much-criticised attacker there!

61 minSwitzerland are very much the team on the front foot at the moment as the clock ticks on.

63 minStill no movement on the Serbia bench, but we are entering the stage of the match where both managers will be considering alterations. A second goal for either would be absolutely massive.

65 minThere have been some tasty challenges in the last few minutes, and the referee has not got his card out for a while so we could be due a booking! Little over 25 minutes of football remaining here.

65 minSERBIA SUB! Kostic is replaced by Ljajic for Serbia.

67 minYou do get the feeling that both teams would be fairly content with a point. However, that would leave Serbia needing to take something from their clash with Brazil next week. Switzerland would fancy their chances of beating Costa Rica, and snatching the second spot. It is a very interesting group.

69 minMitrovic claims that he was held inside the Switzerland box, but the referee is not interested, and neither is VAR. That looked to be a spot kick to be honest, and Mitrovic is not best pleased!

71 minCHANCE! Kolarov delivers a stunning low cross into the Switzerland box, but Mitrovic cannot make contact at the far post. The delivery from Kolarov was just wonderful.

73 minPossession football for Serbia as we approach the final 15 minutes of this match.

74 minSWITZERLAND SUB! Embolo replaces Dzemaili for Switzerland.

76 minYou do get the feeling that there is going to be a late sting in the tail here, and it would be a huge goal in the context of the group if it arrives. Switzerland currently have the ball in Serbia's half.

76 minSeemingly a huge chance for Switzerland as Gavranovic breaks into the Serbia box, but he fires wide of the post. That said, the offside flag was raised; it would not have counted. Late, late flag there!

78 minMatic hooks a Rodriguez cross out of the Serbia box as Switzerland threaten with 78 minutes on the clock. There is no question that Switzerland have been the better team in the second period.

80 minShaqiri breaks clear for Switzerland on the counter-attack, but the Stoke attacker gets it wrong, with Milenkovic is on hand to make the challenge. We have a fascinating final 10 minutes of action here.

82 minSerbia are being forced to defend their own box at the moment as Switzerland press forward.

82 minSERBIA SUB! Milivojevic is replaced by Radonjic for Serbia.

83 minIvanovic manages to turn just wide of his own post following good play from Switzerland.

84 minLittle over five minutes of the second period remaining, and we are still locked at 1-1. Would it be a better result for Switzerland despite the fact that they would remain third? Quite possibly!

85 minSAVE! Smart work from the Serbia goalkeeper to keep out Gavranovic's effort!

86 minSwitzerland have a free kick in a dangerous area as Shaqiri is felled by Matic...

86 min... Rodriguez's free kick is deflected wide of the target.

87 minWonderful defending from Akanji as Switzerland come under pressure on the counter-attack.

88 minBOOKING! Mitrovic (Serbia) is booked for dissent.

90 minSerbia clear yet another corner as Switzerland put the pressure on with 90 minutes on the clock.

90 minGOAL! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland (Shaqiri)

90+1 minOh my word! Switzerland have won it at the death! Incredible break as Shaqiri races away from the Serbian defence before slotting into the bottom corner! What a moment for the Swiss here!

90+2 minWe are into the second of four additional minutes at the end of the match.

90+3 minSWITZERLAND SUB! Drmic replaces Zuber for Switzerland.

90+4 minWe are into the fourth and final minute of added time, and Serbia are in their own half!

90+5 minFULL-TIME: Serbia 1-2 Switzerland

8.53pmSo there we have it! The referee brings the second period to a close with Switzerland recording a 2-1 win over Serbia to move onto four points in Group E. What a huge result in this section. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. Until next time!

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Serbia's players celebrate scoring in the international friendly against Bolivia on June 9, 2018
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