World Cup 2022: Switzerland beats Serbia to advance out of Group G with Brazil

Switzerland's Remo Freuler, right, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Serbia and Switzerland, in Doha, Qatar, Friday Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Switzerland's Remo Freuler, right, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Serbia and Switzerland, in Doha, Qatar, Friday Dec. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Switzerland snagged the second spot in Group G with a 3-2 win over Serbia at the Qatar World Cup on Friday.

All five of the game’s goals came in the first 50 minutes of the game. Thanks to a win over Cameroon in the group stage opener, Switzerland needed either a win or a tie to advance to the knockout rounds unless Cameroon beat Brazil and edged ahead on goal difference. It didn’t, though Cameroon did win 1-0 as Brazil put out a second-string starting lineup knowing that a tie was enough to win the group.

Switzerland scored first before Serbia scored twice in less than 10 minutes to briefly take a 2-1 lead. That was a vital lead for the Serbs; they had to win to have any chance of advancing.

So did Cameroon. After an incredible comeback to tie Serbia in its second game, Cameroon had a chance to advance to the knockout rounds on four points with some help from Serbia. Alas, that help never happened.

The winning goal for Cameroon came from Vincent Aboubakar in added time. He took his shirt off in jubilation after scoring the goal and apparently briefly forgot that he had already received a yellow card. The mandatory card for the shirt removal meant a red and Aboubakar got sent off.

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According to Opta, Aboubakar is the first player to score a goal and be sent off in a World Cup game since 2006 when Zinedine Zidane was sent off for his infamous headbutt in the World Cup final.

Switzerland tied Serbia just before halftime on a fantastic goal by Breel Embolo. The Swiss then took the lead less than three minutes into the second half on Remo Freuler’s strike.

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Serbia seemed to tire over the final 30 minutes of the game as it was far more dangerous in the first half than it was in the second when it needed to chase the game. The four goals scored in the first half were the most first-half goals in a World Cup game since 1998.

Switzerland will play Portugal on Tuesday in the Round of 16 while Brazil plays South Korea on Monday. Brazil hopes to have Neymar and Danilo back for those games after they suffered ankle injuries in Brazil’s opening win over Serbia.