Serbia vs. Switzerland - Football Match Report

Ross Houston
June 23, 2018

When a reporter asked Petkovic him how he would discuss it with his players, he sidestepped the question.

Serbia will now need something from their final Group E match against Brazil, while a draw against Costa Rica would see Switzerland through.

Switzerland worked their best chance of the half on 30 minutes - Blerim Dzemaili darting onto Steven Zuber's cross but wasn't able to make enough contact to beat Vladimir Stojkovic with a leaping toe poke while under pressure.

Tensions have been building in Serbia ahead of the Switzerland match.

It was a sweet victory for Shaqiri and fellow Swiss goalscorer Granit Xhaka, who along with team-mate Valon Belrami were booed relentlessly by Serbia's fans throughout. Relations between Serbia and Kosovo have remained fraught, as Serbia refuses to recognize its former province as an independent nation.

It is not a mistake current coach Mladen Krstajic intends to repeat and the Lazio man - who has reportedly attracted the interest of Real Madrid - was lively against Costa Rica.

But it was Serbia, who beat Costa Rica 1-0 in their Group E opener, who almost went in two up.

Switzerland will be full of confidence after holding World Cup heavyweight Brazil to a draw in Rostov-on-Don. At training Thursday, he wore football boots with Kosovo's flag on his right heel and the Swiss flag on his left.

Xhaka was born to Kosovan-Albanian parents and his father Ragip spent three-and-a-half years in prison for demonstrating against the Communist Yogoslavia rule in Kosovo.

The reaction of some Serbian players has also been sharp. The hard-working striker (and goal-scorer) Aleksandar Mitrovic disrupted Switzerland's build-up play, and Nemanja Matic orchestrated the game while protecting the battle-hardened back four. There was, nevertheless, plenty for Serbia to be pleased about, with Mitrovic particularly impressive in the air.

The game really came to life as Switzerland's Mario Gavranovic was played clean through, but he could only find the side-netting - his blushes spared thanks to the assistant's upraised offside flag - ramping up the atmosphere up a few notches in the Kaliningrad Stadium.

"I think that Mr. Petkovic is from Sarajevo". "So we have two coaches from Bosnia-Herzegovina representing different teams at the World Cup".

Other reports by iNewsToday