Milan

Milan slideshow

What with Tommy Fleetwood’s flirtation with history and Phil Mickelson’s entanglement with infamy it was all too easy to overlook who came sixth in the US Open. But for Tyrrell Hatton, the performance at Shinnecock Hills could prove to be one of the most important of his career and certainly of this season. The Englishman went in with an alarming sense of deja vu. A fine opening to 2018 had given way to four missed cuts in his previous starts and for Hatton that was eerily familiar to last year’s campaign, which, again after a promising opening, saw him plummet out of the world’s top 30 with six missed cuts in seven. “To be honest, it was similar, yes, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried,” Hatton said. “Just like in 2017, a wrist issue had flared up and required a steroid injection. It meant I went into tournaments such as Wentworth [the BMW PGA Championship] rusty and I got on a run of missed cuts or finishes outside the top 40. It became a habit for a while last year and obviously I wanted to break the cycle. The week at home I had before Shinnecock was crucial.” In truth, Hatton has never been a prolific visitor to the range. In this regard, the 26-year-old reminds of Colin Montgomerie, as, like the great Scot, he prefers to keep his swing free and his mind uncluttered of technical thoughts. “I just played a lot of rounds in that seven days and found my rhythm again. I went over believing I could turn a corner.” As well as a fresh attitude, there was a new man on the bag. Hatton’s decision last month to split with Jonathan Bell was curious, if only because the long-time friends enjoyed such success in their nine months together. Indeed, Bell’s calming influence was viewed as key in arresting the slide of the at times combustible Hatton. The pair lifted back-to-back titles in Fife and Milan after just two events together. Brooks Koepka of the United States went on to win the U.S. Open last Sunday Credit: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images “When JB and I got together it was only ever meant to be temporary and not permanent,” Hatton explained. “JB still had his own ambitions to play on Tour and it was like we were just helping each other out. But everything started that well, we just carried on. It was when things began to get tough that I thought it put a strain on our relationship and, with our friendship in mind, parting ways was the right thing to do. JB did a great job, but I’ve been impressed with Punk.” “Punk” is Mark Crane, who used to caddie for Chris Wood. Course management is everything at the US Open, especially on a course as severe as Shinnecock, and Crane helped Hatton retain his patience and faith in the game-plan. But for a hotter week with the putter, Hatton, the world No 23, would surely have bettered his fifth place at the 2016 Open, his best finish in a major thus far. “Apart from one on the ninth on Sunday, I didn’t really hole anything all week and I was only five shots off the winning score – so I have to be positive,” he said. “Playing the back nine in level par on Saturday was the highlight, as some of those pins were well dodgy. “I played with Patrick Reed and, on the 15th, he was standing by the pin when I chipped up. Patrick told me my ball actually stopped a foot away – but then it started to roll and roll, all the way off the green. Ridiculous, really. But I left Shinnecock with confidence renewed and looking forward to this stretch in Europe coming up. I didn’t do myself justice in this run last year, which was a big shame as I think it suits me.” Hatton only lasted two rounds at the French, Irish and Scottish Opens, before also going home early at The Open proper. “Four depressing weeks,” is how he remembers it and even allowing for the wrist complaint, they were mystifying, too. With his two wins in the Dunhill Links as well as runner-up in the Scottish Open two years ago, which led on to that breakthrough display at Royal Troon, Hatton has proven thrillingly adept at seaside golf. The city of Augusta's hidden side Le Golf National is nowhere near the ocean, but it does have a decidedly links feel to it and the fact the Versailles layout plays host to the Ryder Cup in September will afford the Hatton pulse yet another reason to soar when he tees it up in Thursday’s first round of the French Open. The points Hatton earned at Shinnecock cemented his position at the top of the European standings and he is all but certain to make his debut. “Yeah, my place is looking more and more secure, but I won’t be taking anything for granted until I hear my name in the team in August. “All these big tournaments coming up make it easy to keep the Ryder Cup in the back of my mind. I like the French and feel I could have a big week there, while I shot a 65 at Gullane in the last round there in 2015 [the last time it hosted the Scottish Open].” And Carnoustie for the Open in three weeks’ time? As one of the three host courses for he Dunhill Links, Hatton goes to the beast of Angus chasing an unprecedented hat-trick. “I shot 65 there the last time I played it and, go on then, I suppose I would take four 65s if you offered them!” he said. “Look, Carnoustie’s going to be an entirely different test, much less forgiving, but I do go back there with good vibes.” Tyrrell Hatton plays a shot from the bunker during the second round of the U.S. Open Credit: Warren Little/Getty Images As does British golf. as a whole. “There were five of us in the top 12 at the US Open, that’s pretty good isn’t it?” he said. “And Tommy has to be one of the favourites for Carnoustie. I saw him in the locker room after that 65 on Sunday and we had a chat. “I told him my fingers were tightly crossed and I really thought he might have done enough. Brooks [Koepka] played incredibly down the stretch to beat him by one, but Tommy’s only 27 and has years in front of him to knock off one or more majors. Just like me, really.”
Tyrrell Hatton eyes Carnoustie after turning corner at US Open
What with Tommy Fleetwood’s flirtation with history and Phil Mickelson’s entanglement with infamy it was all too easy to overlook who came sixth in the US Open. But for Tyrrell Hatton, the performance at Shinnecock Hills could prove to be one of the most important of his career and certainly of this season. The Englishman went in with an alarming sense of deja vu. A fine opening to 2018 had given way to four missed cuts in his previous starts and for Hatton that was eerily familiar to last year’s campaign, which, again after a promising opening, saw him plummet out of the world’s top 30 with six missed cuts in seven. “To be honest, it was similar, yes, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried,” Hatton said. “Just like in 2017, a wrist issue had flared up and required a steroid injection. It meant I went into tournaments such as Wentworth [the BMW PGA Championship] rusty and I got on a run of missed cuts or finishes outside the top 40. It became a habit for a while last year and obviously I wanted to break the cycle. The week at home I had before Shinnecock was crucial.” In truth, Hatton has never been a prolific visitor to the range. In this regard, the 26-year-old reminds of Colin Montgomerie, as, like the great Scot, he prefers to keep his swing free and his mind uncluttered of technical thoughts. “I just played a lot of rounds in that seven days and found my rhythm again. I went over believing I could turn a corner.” As well as a fresh attitude, there was a new man on the bag. Hatton’s decision last month to split with Jonathan Bell was curious, if only because the long-time friends enjoyed such success in their nine months together. Indeed, Bell’s calming influence was viewed as key in arresting the slide of the at times combustible Hatton. The pair lifted back-to-back titles in Fife and Milan after just two events together. Brooks Koepka of the United States went on to win the U.S. Open last Sunday Credit: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images “When JB and I got together it was only ever meant to be temporary and not permanent,” Hatton explained. “JB still had his own ambitions to play on Tour and it was like we were just helping each other out. But everything started that well, we just carried on. It was when things began to get tough that I thought it put a strain on our relationship and, with our friendship in mind, parting ways was the right thing to do. JB did a great job, but I’ve been impressed with Punk.” “Punk” is Mark Crane, who used to caddie for Chris Wood. Course management is everything at the US Open, especially on a course as severe as Shinnecock, and Crane helped Hatton retain his patience and faith in the game-plan. But for a hotter week with the putter, Hatton, the world No 23, would surely have bettered his fifth place at the 2016 Open, his best finish in a major thus far. “Apart from one on the ninth on Sunday, I didn’t really hole anything all week and I was only five shots off the winning score – so I have to be positive,” he said. “Playing the back nine in level par on Saturday was the highlight, as some of those pins were well dodgy. “I played with Patrick Reed and, on the 15th, he was standing by the pin when I chipped up. Patrick told me my ball actually stopped a foot away – but then it started to roll and roll, all the way off the green. Ridiculous, really. But I left Shinnecock with confidence renewed and looking forward to this stretch in Europe coming up. I didn’t do myself justice in this run last year, which was a big shame as I think it suits me.” Hatton only lasted two rounds at the French, Irish and Scottish Opens, before also going home early at The Open proper. “Four depressing weeks,” is how he remembers it and even allowing for the wrist complaint, they were mystifying, too. With his two wins in the Dunhill Links as well as runner-up in the Scottish Open two years ago, which led on to that breakthrough display at Royal Troon, Hatton has proven thrillingly adept at seaside golf. The city of Augusta's hidden side Le Golf National is nowhere near the ocean, but it does have a decidedly links feel to it and the fact the Versailles layout plays host to the Ryder Cup in September will afford the Hatton pulse yet another reason to soar when he tees it up in Thursday’s first round of the French Open. The points Hatton earned at Shinnecock cemented his position at the top of the European standings and he is all but certain to make his debut. “Yeah, my place is looking more and more secure, but I won’t be taking anything for granted until I hear my name in the team in August. “All these big tournaments coming up make it easy to keep the Ryder Cup in the back of my mind. I like the French and feel I could have a big week there, while I shot a 65 at Gullane in the last round there in 2015 [the last time it hosted the Scottish Open].” And Carnoustie for the Open in three weeks’ time? As one of the three host courses for he Dunhill Links, Hatton goes to the beast of Angus chasing an unprecedented hat-trick. “I shot 65 there the last time I played it and, go on then, I suppose I would take four 65s if you offered them!” he said. “Look, Carnoustie’s going to be an entirely different test, much less forgiving, but I do go back there with good vibes.” Tyrrell Hatton plays a shot from the bunker during the second round of the U.S. Open Credit: Warren Little/Getty Images As does British golf. as a whole. “There were five of us in the top 12 at the US Open, that’s pretty good isn’t it?” he said. “And Tommy has to be one of the favourites for Carnoustie. I saw him in the locker room after that 65 on Sunday and we had a chat. “I told him my fingers were tightly crossed and I really thought he might have done enough. Brooks [Koepka] played incredibly down the stretch to beat him by one, but Tommy’s only 27 and has years in front of him to knock off one or more majors. Just like me, really.”
What with Tommy Fleetwood’s flirtation with history and Phil Mickelson’s entanglement with infamy it was all too easy to overlook who came sixth in the US Open. But for Tyrrell Hatton, the performance at Shinnecock Hills could prove to be one of the most important of his career and certainly of this season. The Englishman went in with an alarming sense of deja vu. A fine opening to 2018 had given way to four missed cuts in his previous starts and for Hatton that was eerily familiar to last year’s campaign, which, again after a promising opening, saw him plummet out of the world’s top 30 with six missed cuts in seven. “To be honest, it was similar, yes, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried,” Hatton said. “Just like in 2017, a wrist issue had flared up and required a steroid injection. It meant I went into tournaments such as Wentworth [the BMW PGA Championship] rusty and I got on a run of missed cuts or finishes outside the top 40. It became a habit for a while last year and obviously I wanted to break the cycle. The week at home I had before Shinnecock was crucial.” In truth, Hatton has never been a prolific visitor to the range. In this regard, the 26-year-old reminds of Colin Montgomerie, as, like the great Scot, he prefers to keep his swing free and his mind uncluttered of technical thoughts. “I just played a lot of rounds in that seven days and found my rhythm again. I went over believing I could turn a corner.” As well as a fresh attitude, there was a new man on the bag. Hatton’s decision last month to split with Jonathan Bell was curious, if only because the long-time friends enjoyed such success in their nine months together. Indeed, Bell’s calming influence was viewed as key in arresting the slide of the at times combustible Hatton. The pair lifted back-to-back titles in Fife and Milan after just two events together. Brooks Koepka of the United States went on to win the U.S. Open last Sunday Credit: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images “When JB and I got together it was only ever meant to be temporary and not permanent,” Hatton explained. “JB still had his own ambitions to play on Tour and it was like we were just helping each other out. But everything started that well, we just carried on. It was when things began to get tough that I thought it put a strain on our relationship and, with our friendship in mind, parting ways was the right thing to do. JB did a great job, but I’ve been impressed with Punk.” “Punk” is Mark Crane, who used to caddie for Chris Wood. Course management is everything at the US Open, especially on a course as severe as Shinnecock, and Crane helped Hatton retain his patience and faith in the game-plan. But for a hotter week with the putter, Hatton, the world No 23, would surely have bettered his fifth place at the 2016 Open, his best finish in a major thus far. “Apart from one on the ninth on Sunday, I didn’t really hole anything all week and I was only five shots off the winning score – so I have to be positive,” he said. “Playing the back nine in level par on Saturday was the highlight, as some of those pins were well dodgy. “I played with Patrick Reed and, on the 15th, he was standing by the pin when I chipped up. Patrick told me my ball actually stopped a foot away – but then it started to roll and roll, all the way off the green. Ridiculous, really. But I left Shinnecock with confidence renewed and looking forward to this stretch in Europe coming up. I didn’t do myself justice in this run last year, which was a big shame as I think it suits me.” Hatton only lasted two rounds at the French, Irish and Scottish Opens, before also going home early at The Open proper. “Four depressing weeks,” is how he remembers it and even allowing for the wrist complaint, they were mystifying, too. With his two wins in the Dunhill Links as well as runner-up in the Scottish Open two years ago, which led on to that breakthrough display at Royal Troon, Hatton has proven thrillingly adept at seaside golf. The city of Augusta's hidden side Le Golf National is nowhere near the ocean, but it does have a decidedly links feel to it and the fact the Versailles layout plays host to the Ryder Cup in September will afford the Hatton pulse yet another reason to soar when he tees it up in Thursday’s first round of the French Open. The points Hatton earned at Shinnecock cemented his position at the top of the European standings and he is all but certain to make his debut. “Yeah, my place is looking more and more secure, but I won’t be taking anything for granted until I hear my name in the team in August. “All these big tournaments coming up make it easy to keep the Ryder Cup in the back of my mind. I like the French and feel I could have a big week there, while I shot a 65 at Gullane in the last round there in 2015 [the last time it hosted the Scottish Open].” And Carnoustie for the Open in three weeks’ time? As one of the three host courses for he Dunhill Links, Hatton goes to the beast of Angus chasing an unprecedented hat-trick. “I shot 65 there the last time I played it and, go on then, I suppose I would take four 65s if you offered them!” he said. “Look, Carnoustie’s going to be an entirely different test, much less forgiving, but I do go back there with good vibes.” Tyrrell Hatton plays a shot from the bunker during the second round of the U.S. Open Credit: Warren Little/Getty Images As does British golf. as a whole. “There were five of us in the top 12 at the US Open, that’s pretty good isn’t it?” he said. “And Tommy has to be one of the favourites for Carnoustie. I saw him in the locker room after that 65 on Sunday and we had a chat. “I told him my fingers were tightly crossed and I really thought he might have done enough. Brooks [Koepka] played incredibly down the stretch to beat him by one, but Tommy’s only 27 and has years in front of him to knock off one or more majors. Just like me, really.”
Tyrrell Hatton eyes Carnoustie after turning corner at US Open
What with Tommy Fleetwood’s flirtation with history and Phil Mickelson’s entanglement with infamy it was all too easy to overlook who came sixth in the US Open. But for Tyrrell Hatton, the performance at Shinnecock Hills could prove to be one of the most important of his career and certainly of this season. The Englishman went in with an alarming sense of deja vu. A fine opening to 2018 had given way to four missed cuts in his previous starts and for Hatton that was eerily familiar to last year’s campaign, which, again after a promising opening, saw him plummet out of the world’s top 30 with six missed cuts in seven. “To be honest, it was similar, yes, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried,” Hatton said. “Just like in 2017, a wrist issue had flared up and required a steroid injection. It meant I went into tournaments such as Wentworth [the BMW PGA Championship] rusty and I got on a run of missed cuts or finishes outside the top 40. It became a habit for a while last year and obviously I wanted to break the cycle. The week at home I had before Shinnecock was crucial.” In truth, Hatton has never been a prolific visitor to the range. In this regard, the 26-year-old reminds of Colin Montgomerie, as, like the great Scot, he prefers to keep his swing free and his mind uncluttered of technical thoughts. “I just played a lot of rounds in that seven days and found my rhythm again. I went over believing I could turn a corner.” As well as a fresh attitude, there was a new man on the bag. Hatton’s decision last month to split with Jonathan Bell was curious, if only because the long-time friends enjoyed such success in their nine months together. Indeed, Bell’s calming influence was viewed as key in arresting the slide of the at times combustible Hatton. The pair lifted back-to-back titles in Fife and Milan after just two events together. Brooks Koepka of the United States went on to win the U.S. Open last Sunday Credit: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images “When JB and I got together it was only ever meant to be temporary and not permanent,” Hatton explained. “JB still had his own ambitions to play on Tour and it was like we were just helping each other out. But everything started that well, we just carried on. It was when things began to get tough that I thought it put a strain on our relationship and, with our friendship in mind, parting ways was the right thing to do. JB did a great job, but I’ve been impressed with Punk.” “Punk” is Mark Crane, who used to caddie for Chris Wood. Course management is everything at the US Open, especially on a course as severe as Shinnecock, and Crane helped Hatton retain his patience and faith in the game-plan. But for a hotter week with the putter, Hatton, the world No 23, would surely have bettered his fifth place at the 2016 Open, his best finish in a major thus far. “Apart from one on the ninth on Sunday, I didn’t really hole anything all week and I was only five shots off the winning score – so I have to be positive,” he said. “Playing the back nine in level par on Saturday was the highlight, as some of those pins were well dodgy. “I played with Patrick Reed and, on the 15th, he was standing by the pin when I chipped up. Patrick told me my ball actually stopped a foot away – but then it started to roll and roll, all the way off the green. Ridiculous, really. But I left Shinnecock with confidence renewed and looking forward to this stretch in Europe coming up. I didn’t do myself justice in this run last year, which was a big shame as I think it suits me.” Hatton only lasted two rounds at the French, Irish and Scottish Opens, before also going home early at The Open proper. “Four depressing weeks,” is how he remembers it and even allowing for the wrist complaint, they were mystifying, too. With his two wins in the Dunhill Links as well as runner-up in the Scottish Open two years ago, which led on to that breakthrough display at Royal Troon, Hatton has proven thrillingly adept at seaside golf. The city of Augusta's hidden side Le Golf National is nowhere near the ocean, but it does have a decidedly links feel to it and the fact the Versailles layout plays host to the Ryder Cup in September will afford the Hatton pulse yet another reason to soar when he tees it up in Thursday’s first round of the French Open. The points Hatton earned at Shinnecock cemented his position at the top of the European standings and he is all but certain to make his debut. “Yeah, my place is looking more and more secure, but I won’t be taking anything for granted until I hear my name in the team in August. “All these big tournaments coming up make it easy to keep the Ryder Cup in the back of my mind. I like the French and feel I could have a big week there, while I shot a 65 at Gullane in the last round there in 2015 [the last time it hosted the Scottish Open].” And Carnoustie for the Open in three weeks’ time? As one of the three host courses for he Dunhill Links, Hatton goes to the beast of Angus chasing an unprecedented hat-trick. “I shot 65 there the last time I played it and, go on then, I suppose I would take four 65s if you offered them!” he said. “Look, Carnoustie’s going to be an entirely different test, much less forgiving, but I do go back there with good vibes.” Tyrrell Hatton plays a shot from the bunker during the second round of the U.S. Open Credit: Warren Little/Getty Images As does British golf. as a whole. “There were five of us in the top 12 at the US Open, that’s pretty good isn’t it?” he said. “And Tommy has to be one of the favourites for Carnoustie. I saw him in the locker room after that 65 on Sunday and we had a chat. “I told him my fingers were tightly crossed and I really thought he might have done enough. Brooks [Koepka] played incredibly down the stretch to beat him by one, but Tommy’s only 27 and has years in front of him to knock off one or more majors. Just like me, really.”
What with Tommy Fleetwood’s flirtation with history and Phil Mickelson’s entanglement with infamy it was all too easy to overlook who came sixth in the US Open. But for Tyrrell Hatton, the performance at Shinnecock Hills could prove to be one of the most important of his career and certainly of this season. The Englishman went in with an alarming sense of deja vu. A fine opening to 2018 had given way to four missed cuts in his previous starts and for Hatton that was eerily familiar to last year’s campaign, which, again after a promising opening, saw him plummet out of the world’s top 30 with six missed cuts in seven. “To be honest, it was similar, yes, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried,” Hatton said. “Just like in 2017, a wrist issue had flared up and required a steroid injection. It meant I went into tournaments such as Wentworth [the BMW PGA Championship] rusty and I got on a run of missed cuts or finishes outside the top 40. It became a habit for a while last year and obviously I wanted to break the cycle. The week at home I had before Shinnecock was crucial.” In truth, Hatton has never been a prolific visitor to the range. In this regard, the 26-year-old reminds of Colin Montgomerie, as, like the great Scot, he prefers to keep his swing free and his mind uncluttered of technical thoughts. “I just played a lot of rounds in that seven days and found my rhythm again. I went over believing I could turn a corner.” As well as a fresh attitude, there was a new man on the bag. Hatton’s decision last month to split with Jonathan Bell was curious, if only because the long-time friends enjoyed such success in their nine months together. Indeed, Bell’s calming influence was viewed as key in arresting the slide of the at times combustible Hatton. The pair lifted back-to-back titles in Fife and Milan after just two events together. Brooks Koepka of the United States went on to win the U.S. Open last Sunday Credit: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images “When JB and I got together it was only ever meant to be temporary and not permanent,” Hatton explained. “JB still had his own ambitions to play on Tour and it was like we were just helping each other out. But everything started that well, we just carried on. It was when things began to get tough that I thought it put a strain on our relationship and, with our friendship in mind, parting ways was the right thing to do. JB did a great job, but I’ve been impressed with Punk.” “Punk” is Mark Crane, who used to caddie for Chris Wood. Course management is everything at the US Open, especially on a course as severe as Shinnecock, and Crane helped Hatton retain his patience and faith in the game-plan. But for a hotter week with the putter, Hatton, the world No 23, would surely have bettered his fifth place at the 2016 Open, his best finish in a major thus far. “Apart from one on the ninth on Sunday, I didn’t really hole anything all week and I was only five shots off the winning score – so I have to be positive,” he said. “Playing the back nine in level par on Saturday was the highlight, as some of those pins were well dodgy. “I played with Patrick Reed and, on the 15th, he was standing by the pin when I chipped up. Patrick told me my ball actually stopped a foot away – but then it started to roll and roll, all the way off the green. Ridiculous, really. But I left Shinnecock with confidence renewed and looking forward to this stretch in Europe coming up. I didn’t do myself justice in this run last year, which was a big shame as I think it suits me.” Hatton only lasted two rounds at the French, Irish and Scottish Opens, before also going home early at The Open proper. “Four depressing weeks,” is how he remembers it and even allowing for the wrist complaint, they were mystifying, too. With his two wins in the Dunhill Links as well as runner-up in the Scottish Open two years ago, which led on to that breakthrough display at Royal Troon, Hatton has proven thrillingly adept at seaside golf. The city of Augusta's hidden side Le Golf National is nowhere near the ocean, but it does have a decidedly links feel to it and the fact the Versailles layout plays host to the Ryder Cup in September will afford the Hatton pulse yet another reason to soar when he tees it up in Thursday’s first round of the French Open. The points Hatton earned at Shinnecock cemented his position at the top of the European standings and he is all but certain to make his debut. “Yeah, my place is looking more and more secure, but I won’t be taking anything for granted until I hear my name in the team in August. “All these big tournaments coming up make it easy to keep the Ryder Cup in the back of my mind. I like the French and feel I could have a big week there, while I shot a 65 at Gullane in the last round there in 2015 [the last time it hosted the Scottish Open].” And Carnoustie for the Open in three weeks’ time? As one of the three host courses for he Dunhill Links, Hatton goes to the beast of Angus chasing an unprecedented hat-trick. “I shot 65 there the last time I played it and, go on then, I suppose I would take four 65s if you offered them!” he said. “Look, Carnoustie’s going to be an entirely different test, much less forgiving, but I do go back there with good vibes.” Tyrrell Hatton plays a shot from the bunker during the second round of the U.S. Open Credit: Warren Little/Getty Images As does British golf. as a whole. “There were five of us in the top 12 at the US Open, that’s pretty good isn’t it?” he said. “And Tommy has to be one of the favourites for Carnoustie. I saw him in the locker room after that 65 on Sunday and we had a chat. “I told him my fingers were tightly crossed and I really thought he might have done enough. Brooks [Koepka] played incredibly down the stretch to beat him by one, but Tommy’s only 27 and has years in front of him to knock off one or more majors. Just like me, really.”
Tyrrell Hatton eyes Carnoustie after turning corner at US Open
What with Tommy Fleetwood’s flirtation with history and Phil Mickelson’s entanglement with infamy it was all too easy to overlook who came sixth in the US Open. But for Tyrrell Hatton, the performance at Shinnecock Hills could prove to be one of the most important of his career and certainly of this season. The Englishman went in with an alarming sense of deja vu. A fine opening to 2018 had given way to four missed cuts in his previous starts and for Hatton that was eerily familiar to last year’s campaign, which, again after a promising opening, saw him plummet out of the world’s top 30 with six missed cuts in seven. “To be honest, it was similar, yes, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried,” Hatton said. “Just like in 2017, a wrist issue had flared up and required a steroid injection. It meant I went into tournaments such as Wentworth [the BMW PGA Championship] rusty and I got on a run of missed cuts or finishes outside the top 40. It became a habit for a while last year and obviously I wanted to break the cycle. The week at home I had before Shinnecock was crucial.” In truth, Hatton has never been a prolific visitor to the range. In this regard, the 26-year-old reminds of Colin Montgomerie, as, like the great Scot, he prefers to keep his swing free and his mind uncluttered of technical thoughts. “I just played a lot of rounds in that seven days and found my rhythm again. I went over believing I could turn a corner.” As well as a fresh attitude, there was a new man on the bag. Hatton’s decision last month to split with Jonathan Bell was curious, if only because the long-time friends enjoyed such success in their nine months together. Indeed, Bell’s calming influence was viewed as key in arresting the slide of the at times combustible Hatton. The pair lifted back-to-back titles in Fife and Milan after just two events together. Brooks Koepka of the United States went on to win the U.S. Open last Sunday Credit: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images “When JB and I got together it was only ever meant to be temporary and not permanent,” Hatton explained. “JB still had his own ambitions to play on Tour and it was like we were just helping each other out. But everything started that well, we just carried on. It was when things began to get tough that I thought it put a strain on our relationship and, with our friendship in mind, parting ways was the right thing to do. JB did a great job, but I’ve been impressed with Punk.” “Punk” is Mark Crane, who used to caddie for Chris Wood. Course management is everything at the US Open, especially on a course as severe as Shinnecock, and Crane helped Hatton retain his patience and faith in the game-plan. But for a hotter week with the putter, Hatton, the world No 23, would surely have bettered his fifth place at the 2016 Open, his best finish in a major thus far. “Apart from one on the ninth on Sunday, I didn’t really hole anything all week and I was only five shots off the winning score – so I have to be positive,” he said. “Playing the back nine in level par on Saturday was the highlight, as some of those pins were well dodgy. “I played with Patrick Reed and, on the 15th, he was standing by the pin when I chipped up. Patrick told me my ball actually stopped a foot away – but then it started to roll and roll, all the way off the green. Ridiculous, really. But I left Shinnecock with confidence renewed and looking forward to this stretch in Europe coming up. I didn’t do myself justice in this run last year, which was a big shame as I think it suits me.” Hatton only lasted two rounds at the French, Irish and Scottish Opens, before also going home early at The Open proper. “Four depressing weeks,” is how he remembers it and even allowing for the wrist complaint, they were mystifying, too. With his two wins in the Dunhill Links as well as runner-up in the Scottish Open two years ago, which led on to that breakthrough display at Royal Troon, Hatton has proven thrillingly adept at seaside golf. The city of Augusta's hidden side Le Golf National is nowhere near the ocean, but it does have a decidedly links feel to it and the fact the Versailles layout plays host to the Ryder Cup in September will afford the Hatton pulse yet another reason to soar when he tees it up in Thursday’s first round of the French Open. The points Hatton earned at Shinnecock cemented his position at the top of the European standings and he is all but certain to make his debut. “Yeah, my place is looking more and more secure, but I won’t be taking anything for granted until I hear my name in the team in August. “All these big tournaments coming up make it easy to keep the Ryder Cup in the back of my mind. I like the French and feel I could have a big week there, while I shot a 65 at Gullane in the last round there in 2015 [the last time it hosted the Scottish Open].” And Carnoustie for the Open in three weeks’ time? As one of the three host courses for he Dunhill Links, Hatton goes to the beast of Angus chasing an unprecedented hat-trick. “I shot 65 there the last time I played it and, go on then, I suppose I would take four 65s if you offered them!” he said. “Look, Carnoustie’s going to be an entirely different test, much less forgiving, but I do go back there with good vibes.” Tyrrell Hatton plays a shot from the bunker during the second round of the U.S. Open Credit: Warren Little/Getty Images As does British golf. as a whole. “There were five of us in the top 12 at the US Open, that’s pretty good isn’t it?” he said. “And Tommy has to be one of the favourites for Carnoustie. I saw him in the locker room after that 65 on Sunday and we had a chat. “I told him my fingers were tightly crossed and I really thought he might have done enough. Brooks [Koepka] played incredibly down the stretch to beat him by one, but Tommy’s only 27 and has years in front of him to knock off one or more majors. Just like me, really.”
FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 file photo, Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts talks to the crowd during the Cubs' annual convention, in Chicago. The Ricketts family that owns the Chicago Cubs says it is negotiating to purchase the debt-ridden AC Milan soccer team. The Milan office of the Edelman public relations firm, which has been hired to represent the Ricketts, says the entire family is interested in Milan for "a medium- to long-period investment" and wants to create "a strong bond with the city." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago Cubs owners in talks to purchase AC Milan
FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 file photo, Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts talks to the crowd during the Cubs' annual convention, in Chicago. The Ricketts family that owns the Chicago Cubs says it is negotiating to purchase the debt-ridden AC Milan soccer team. The Milan office of the Edelman public relations firm, which has been hired to represent the Ricketts, says the entire family is interested in Milan for "a medium- to long-period investment" and wants to create "a strong bond with the city." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 file photo, Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts talks to the crowd during the Cubs' annual convention, in Chicago. The Ricketts family that owns the Chicago Cubs says it is negotiating to purchase the debt-ridden AC Milan soccer team. The Milan office of the Edelman public relations firm, which has been hired to represent the Ricketts, says the entire family is interested in Milan for "a medium- to long-period investment" and wants to create "a strong bond with the city." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 file photo, Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts talks to the crowd during the Cubs' annual convention, in Chicago. The Ricketts family that owns the Chicago Cubs says it is negotiating to purchase the debt-ridden AC Milan soccer team. The Milan office of the Edelman public relations firm, which has been hired to represent the Ricketts, says the entire family is interested in Milan for "a medium- to long-period investment" and wants to create "a strong bond with the city." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 file photo, Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts talks to the crowd during the Cubs' annual convention, in Chicago. The Ricketts family that owns the Chicago Cubs says it is negotiating to purchase the debt-ridden AC Milan soccer team. The Milan office of the Edelman public relations firm, which has been hired to represent the Ricketts, says the entire family is interested in Milan for "a medium- to long-period investment" and wants to create "a strong bond with the city." (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
The billions of net worth could save the Serie A giants in serious financial peril.
Ricketts family, owner of the Chicago Cubs, interested in purchasing AC Milan
The billions of net worth could save the Serie A giants in serious financial peril.
The billions of net worth could save the Serie A giants in serious financial peril.
Ricketts family, owner of the Chicago Cubs, interested in purchasing AC Milan
The billions of net worth could save the Serie A giants in serious financial peril.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
Xherdan Shaqiri secures Switzerland precious World Cup win over Serbia with late breakaway winner
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.
It was when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals with the Albanian eagle salute that you knew just how much beating Serbia meant to them. Two players of Kosovan descent not only put Switzerland on the brink of the World Cup knockout stages but they struck a blow for the nation their opponents’ government still refuses to recognise. Whatever Arsenal fans think of Xhaka, surely not even they would begrudge him what must have been one of the most emotional goals of this World Cup, with his father having been imprisoned for campaigning for the independence of Kosovo. His equaliser, cancelling out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s early opener, kept Switzerland’s Group E destiny in their own hands before Shaqiri put them firmly in control of it and left Serbia needing to beat Brazil to reach the last 16 for the first time since their country became independent itself. Shaqiri’s stoppage-time winner sparked wild celebrations, the Stoke City winger tearing off his shirt before repeating Xhaka’s earlier gesture, the significance of which he sought to play down afterwards. Shaqiri slots home the winning goal Credit: AFP “In football, you have always emotions and at least you can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion and I’m very happy to score this goal,” he said. Both managers, at pains during the build-up to this fixture to steer pre-match talk away from the politics of it, refused to discuss the gestures of Xhaka and Shaqiri. Sarajevo-born Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic said: “It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen. We, all together, need to stay away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.” The first meeting of these two sides since the collapse of Yugoslavia had long been billed as a grudge match, given Shaqiri and team-mate Valon Behrami were both born in Kosovo and Xhaka’s family was forced to flee from there. Shaqiri even speaks Albanian at home and has long worn boots bearing the flag of both his adopted country and birthplace, an online picture of which last month prompted a caustic response from Mitrovic. As well as earning their country a Fifa fine for a World War II-era banner in their World Cup opener in Samara, Serbia fans could apparently be heard singing “Kosovo je Srbija” (Kosovo is Serbia) in the city’s bars after the game. In Kaliningrad, a place with its own complex history of nationhood, they made their feelings clear by jeering Switzerland’s Balkan-blooded players from the moment their names were announced over the public address. The jeers turned to cheers when Serbia took the lead inside five minutes. Switzerland failed to learn their lesson as, first, Mitrovic climbed highest to connect with a header that Yann Sommer did well to repel, before the Newcastle United striker outmuscled Fabian Schar to power home Dusan Tadic’s cross moments later. Blerim Dzemaili, another Balkan-born Swiss, screwed wide from Ricardo Rodriguez’s cutback but Mitrovic was winning almost everything in the air. He also saw fit to barge into the back of Shaqiri in what was a visible reminder of the bad blood between them. Switzerland soon began finding their own chinks in their opponents’ back line and would have equalised after half an hour but for a superb reflex save by Vladimir Stojkovic from Dzemaili. Aleksandar Mitrovic heads Serbia in front Credit: Getty Images But they looked like conceding from every high ball and would have done from a corner had Dusko Tosic not failed to connect with a free header and had Nemanja Matic been able to turn in the loose ball just before half-time. Needing a goal to avoid having to cheer on their opponents against Brazil on Wednesday, they got it soon after the restart thanks to Xhaka, who produced the kind of strike to leave Arsenal fans blinking in disbelief. Switzerland had only just avoiding conceding from another Mitrovic header from a corner when they launched an attack that saw the ball break to Xhaka, who lashed it home left-footed first time from 20 yards. In a breathless climax in which either side looked capable of snatching a winner, Mitrovic had a furious penalty appeal turned down for grappling, sparking another video technology row. Stojkovic was then called into serious action to deny Mario Gavranovic from fellow substitute Breel Embolo’s knock-down. But given the politically-charged atmosphere, the clincher seemed destined to come from a Balkan and it was Shaqiri who provided it at the death. Serbia were on the attack when the ball was played forward to the winger, who stayed onside by remaining in his own half before out-sprinting his pursuer and slotting under Stojkovic. Serbia manager Mladen Krstajić refused to comment on the penalty incident and was defiant about his side’s chances of upsetting Brazil. He said: “Nothing is impossible in life. We respect their status as favourites to win but we are going to prepare. They have weak spots that we’ll try to exploit.” 9:07PM Where does this leave the group Serbia need to beat Brazil on Wednesday unless Switzerland are beaten by Costa Rica by a couple of goals - a draw against Costa Rica will suffice for Switzerland. 9:03PM Opta's statistical pointers Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position. As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded. Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat by Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 15 starts for Serbia (13 goals, 2 assists). Five of Granit Xhaka’s 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box. Only Josef Hügi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (4, tied with Robert Ballamann & Andre Abegglen). Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in five of Switzerland's last six World Cup goals (four goals, one assist). 9:02PM This seems about right Caught on the counter twice. Milivojevic sub was a bad one. We shouldn't have risked it all, a draw is much better than a loss.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 Of course if Brych called that obvious penalty against Mitrovic things could have been different but we would have likely conceded anyway with the way we were playing.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 We did score our goal way too early but that doesn't mean that you automatically have to sit back and absorb pressure right away. We could have won that game in the first half with a bit better approach. Congrats to the Swiss on a great fight.— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:58PM How they stand 8:54PM Full time Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Serbia were the better side for more than an hour, defended superbly until that late error and were robbed of a surefire penalty when Mitrovic was bodyslammed by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. They have every right to feel aggrieved. But you have to admire Switzerland's clinical finishing and the way they fought their way back into the game. Terrific match. 8:51PM 90+3 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Drmic replaces Zuber. Shaqiri isi booked for time-wasting. 8:50PM 90 min Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Akanji defends a cross, Tosic makes a terrible error of judgment on halfway, trying to play offside and steps up which lets Shaqiri run past him and through on goal from 50m. Tosic gives chase but he can't catch him despite his efforts. Out comes Stojkovic and Shaqiri waits for him to commit himself then pokes it under his dive with marvellous composure. Serbia 1 - 2 Switzerland (Xherdan Shaqiri, 90 min) 8:48PM Goal!! Serbia 1-2 Switzerland Shaqiri on the break and with the composure to slot it in. 8:47PM 89 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It's been a ding dong second-half, supremely enjoyable. Ivanovic stands tall at the cost of a corner. Rodriguez will take from the left. Mitrovic heads it clear from the penalty spot. Serbia have been brilliantly organised at the back and even the goal they conceded was the unfortunate result of a brave block. 8:45PM 87 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Radjonic tears 50m up the left and cuts inside to head from the box. Akanji has the speed and timing to slide in and knock it behind for a corner from which Mitrovic is penalised for holding. 8:44PM 85 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerland free-kick 25m out for a Matic trip. Rodriguez hits it at the wall and it balloons out for a corner. Matic blocks a shot as the ball fell in the box from the cross. Serbia break. 8:43PM 83 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo wins a header and flick it behind the defence and Gavranovic in an undetected offside position scoops his shot at Stojkovic who, after the scare a minute ago, recovers his poise and saves smartly. 8:40PM 81 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Embolo has a dig from 20m and achieves power without precision though Stojkovic palms it down as it's too hot to grasp at first attempt. 8:38PM 79 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kolarov wins a key header at the back post. Switzerland lay siege from 30m out and continue to probe until Xhaka's pass over the top is overclubbed and skips out of play fr a goalkick. Milivojevic is the one to make way for Radonjic, a defensive midfielder for a forward. 8:37PM 78 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Top class defending from Milenkovic. The Red Star striker Radonjic is about to come on. 8:36PM 77 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Ljajic shoots, cutting inside on to his right from the left, but his shot is blocked and Switzerland break at pace, Shaqiri scurrying forward, the 'Magic Cube' accelerating towards the box, feinting this way and that. Milenkovic, though, keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn't buy the dummies. 8:34PM 75 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Rodriguez is having his mouth swabbed for blood, claiming he was elbowed in the universal language of mime. He has to change his shirt and comes on with bloody teeth, like a claret drinker or Dracula. 8:32PM 73 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka, from a mile offside and clear through on goal from the left, skewers his shot into the side-netting. The linesman lets the phase end before he flags. 8:31PM 71 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Switzerlnd sub: Embolo on for Dzemaili. Lichtsteiner and Schaer double team Mitrovic and should have been penalised Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images 8:28PM 68 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland A fine pass form Milikovic-Savic sends Kolarov clear down the left and the captain pings in a daisy-cutter through the six-yard box. Mitrovic doesn't expect it to reach him at the back post so doesn't accelerate but it does elude the defence and he misses it by half a metre or so. For want of a nail ... Serbia vs Switzerland shots on goal 8:25PM 66 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Brilliant cross from Tadic to the back post where Mitrovic is wrestled to the ground by Lichtsteiner and Schaer. Both had their arms wrapped around him as he went up to win the header and grappled him to the ground. That was a stonebonker of a penalty. They double-teamed him and yet the VAR bottles it and the referee ignores it. 8:22PM 64 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland That was Kostic's last act - he is replaced by Ljajic of Torino who started the Costa Rica game. 8:22PM 63 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Kostic betrays his frustration with the referee after a tight throw-in call is wrongly given the other way. 3 yellow cards from 7 Serbia fouls ? really Felix Brych? did we just throw out warnings for this match?— Serbian Football (@SerbianFooty) June 22, 2018 8:19PM 61 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic receives a final warning for tussling with Behrami. He has already been booked. Xhaka takes a moment after equalising Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images 8:17PM 58 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Shaqiri, dances around Kolarov on the right, turns and moves a couple of metres back towards his own goal then bends a scorching shot towards the top left corner that shaves the outside of the joint where the post meets the crossbar. Xhaka fires in Switzerland's equaliser Credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images 8:15PM 56 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Gavranovic has made an instant impact and improvement. He is running the channels hard and getting behind the veteran Ivanovic, testing his ability to turn quickly and putting some pain into his legs. 8:13PM 54 min Serbia 1-1 Switzerland It looked like the chance had gone when Shaqiri fired his left-foot shot on the break at Kolarov. The ball ricochets out to Xhaka who has been so loose in possession but can still strike a killer shot. It comes to him 22m out and he thrashes it with his left-foot across goal from the left and into the right corner. Utterly unstoppable. Mitrovic should really have scored with that header and yet 20 seconds later their lead instead of being doubled has gone. Pass: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Ricardo Rodríguez, 26 min) 8:10PM Goal!! Serbia 1-1 Switzerland Xhaka with a left-foot screamer. 8:10PM 52 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Careless Xhaka gives the ball to Tadic who links up with Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic at the edge of the box. They play slick passes, Mitrovic holds off Schaer and they win a corner from which Mitrovic sends a towering header over the bar. 8:08PM 51 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez overhits a cross from the left sending it sailing beyond the back post and out for a throw. Gavranovic won the header to play him in having fought to be on the end of Shaqiri's diagonal pass. 8:07PM 50 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Zuber makes hay on the left and gets past Ivanovic when he is found by a crossfield pass but he had strayed offside. 8:06PM 48 min Switzerland begin the half on the front foot and pass it around, probing left and right as Shaqiri is give a free role at the start. 8:04PM 46 min An understandable and overdue switch. Robert Rosario and Jason Lee were more prolific than Seferovic threatened to be. 8:03PM Half-time substitution Mario Gavranovic of Dinamo Zagreb replaces Haris Seferovic for Switzerland. 7:53PM Record-breakers Cue Roy Castle: Mitrovic scores for Serbia and that equals the record for consecutive games at a World Cup without a goalless draw. 26 games, the same as in Switzerland in 1954 when every single game had a goal. Just knockout in those days.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 22, 2018 7:50PM Half-time As they depart Shaqiri and Mitrovic, who has been outstanding, have a chat about an off-the-ball collision at a corner in the first half. Was it deliberate, Mitrovic catching Shaqiri on the side of his head? Mitrovic is explaining himself, making the case that it was an accident. 7:48PM 45+3 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Matic is booked for flattening Lichtsteiner. And that's the half. 7:47PM 45+2 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland In the last minute of added time Tadic flays a left-foot shot that trims the top of the crossbar. He caught it so crisply from 20m out that you could almost hear the 'whoosh' on the boom microphone. 7:46PM 45 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland fall apart at the corner losing their men and their shape when Tadic whips it into the box from the right. Tosic dives in and would have scored had he timed his leap properly but instead he is to late and flies under the ball. Panic stations in the box but Switzerland get away with it by the skin of their teeth. 7:44PM 43 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Serbia break free on the counter down the left but the cross is too floaty. Then Milinkovic-Savic, who treasures the ball like Swiss Toni and a beautiful woman, kills a firm pass with a lovely touch, takes it in his stride and plays it down the right for Tadic whose cross is blocked behind for a corner. 7:42PM 41 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland At last Switzerland try to pick the lock with a pas slid down the inside left channel where Tosic beats Dzemaili to it by a toenail. 7:40PM 39 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milivojevic for a mistimed sliding tackle on Shaqiri 15m inside the Serbia half. Switzerland move it across the field from right to left and back again but they keep getting crowded out by the compact midfield and defence. 7:39PM 37 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Scaher shoves Mitrovic in the back as the centre-forward tried to shield a cross just to the left of the box. Kolarov will take. He chips it to the near post for Mitrovic's run but a defender wins the header and clears it to the edge of the box. Tadic hits it sweetly on the half-volley but Sommer saves it in relative comfort even it it momentarily stings his palms. Here's Stojkovic's save: Stojkovic thwarts Dzemaili Credit: PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images 7:35PM 35 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Yellow card for Milinkovic-Savic who went into a 30-70 challenge for a bouncing ball with Schaer and had his leg raised so high, he studded his opponent in the hip. 7:34PM 33 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Dearie me, that's terrible from Dzemaili who is put through the inside-left channel with Milenkovic slow to turn. But instead of shooting he scoops the ball from left to right across the area and ends the threat. At least I think that's what he was doing, trying to cross it. If it was a shot, it was even worse. 7:32PM 31 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Smart save from Stojkovic, low to his right from 8m when Dzemaili was played through by a cute, dinked pass from Zuber in the inside-right channel. Stojkovic got down quick and used his strong right wrist to divert it behind. That kind of zip, moving the ball at a fair old lick, unsettled Serbia. Attempt Saved: Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Blerim Dzemaili, 30 min) 7:29PM 29 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Lichtsteiner's courageous sliding block concedes a throw-in high up the pitch in Serbia's half but thwarted he centre-half's plan to free Mitrovic through the middle. 7:28PM 27 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Xhaka is penalised unjustly for a fair if ungainly tackle on Milivojevic. 7:27PM 25 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Tadic tracks Rodriguez diligently as the Milan full-back chases a long diagonal chip. Tadic watches the ball and nods it out as he backpedalled, safety first. Rodriguez sends in the corner and Mitrovic heads it clear. Serbia vs Switzerland 7:24PM 23 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milenkovic stops Shaqiri's thrusting run at the edge of the Serbia area and plays it up the right for Mitrovic to break. he has many qualities but not searing pace and Akanji closes him down and the two collide with a meaty thud. 7:23PM 21 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Kostic is played in round the back, behind Lichtsteiner and enters the box from the left. Akanji manages to intercept and scramble it clear. Serbia take the lead Credit: REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch 7:20PM 18 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland It's a terrific game so far. Serbia are slick and powerful. Tadic plays it out to Ivanovic who sends a deep outswinging cross to the edge of the penalty area. Mitrovic, who has Schaer cowering in his back pocket, takes it on his chest, swivels and floats a 20m bicycle kick over the bar. 7:18PM 15 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Milinkovic-Savic storms forward, tacking from centre to right and, when the defence dissolves in front of him, he whacks a right-foot shot from juts outside of the area, aiming for the top left corner but pulls it wide of his target. A minute earlier Kostoc had tiptoed through the box from the left and scooped a clever cross over Schaer, a bit of an up and under, but Rodriguez managed to get in the way. Possession: Serbia vs Switzerland 7:15PM 13 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic's dander and confidence are up and he's thriving on early crosses but takes this one on from too far out, trying to beat Sommer from 20m and flashes it over the bar. 7:12PM 10 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Rodriguez makes progress up the left, jinks past Ivanovic to the byeline, then drags back a low pass through the box for Dzemaili who has a clear path to goal form 15m but hooks his left-foot shot wide of the right post. His body shape was all wrong. Here's the goal: Mitrovic puts Serbia into an early lead Credit: Clive Rose/Getty Images 7:10PM 8 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland corner, taken by Shaqiri from the right. Akanji wins the header and flashes it across the box but Matic is there to stop Shaqiri latching on to it. Switzerland are passing it around, probing patiently. 7:08PM 6 min Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Switzerland lost the ball on the left side of their defence about half a minute after Milivojevic had a crisp header saved. Tadic takes it to the corner flag and cuts back on to his left foot to bend in an inswinger towards the centre of goal. Mitrovic makes an angle run across goal, beasts Schaer in the air and steers his header wide of Sommer. Serbia 1 - 0 Switzerland (Aleksandar Mitrovic, 5 min) 7:06PM Goal! Serbia 1-0 Switzerland Mitrovic buries it, heading on Tadic's right-wing cross. 7:05PM 4 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Shaqiri rolls the ball across the park for Akanji who is marauding up the left. He switches it back out to Shaqiri on the right who pings it infield for Xhaka. He takes a touch, accepts the invitation to shoot that is implied by Serbia not closing him down but slices a 25m shot over the bar. 7:03PM 2 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland Serbia free-kick 10m into the Switzerland half. Kolarov takes and drives a long diagonal. Mitrovic tries to feed on the scraps of the knockdown but Behrami holds him off and keeps him away from the ball in the box. 7:01PM 1 min Serbia 0-0 Switzerland The Serbian anthem was belted out by large swathes of the crowd. The team have based themselves in Kaliningrad and they have plenty of supporters in the stadium. Serbia build an attack up the right and Zuber comes back to help out Rodriguez. 6:56PM Time for the national anthems Tache of the tournament Credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP The Swiss Psalm is even more funereal than our own. 6:54PM The BBC pundits Favour a draw. I'm hoping Switzerland will feel that they have to go for three points in the knowledge that Serbia are capable of getting a point against Brazil. Serbia are in red, Switzerland in white. 6:33PM Meet Vladimir Petkovic Vladimir Petkovic succeeded Ottmar Hitzfeld as Switzerland manager after the 2014 World Cup and was sacked by Lazio in January of that year for agreeing to take the job. The Bosnian Croat won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico and had managed six Swiss clubs since ending his playing career in 1997, most notably three years and a league runners-up place with Young Boys. Petkovic took Switzerland to the last 16 at Euro 2016 where they were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Poland Credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images Until he took that job in Bern in 2008 Petkovic had combined his football career with working for the Catholic Caritas homeless charity in Locarno and his ‘moral character’ was singled out by the Lazio owner as the reason for hiring such a relatively unknown and unsuccessful coach. 6:22PM Fancy impersonating VAR? What have you come as? test - do not delete How VAR could have changed past World Cups 6:08PM And finally those teams in the classical style Serbia Stojkovic; Ivanovic, Milenkovic, Tosic, Kolarov; Matic, Milivojevic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Mitrovic. Substitutes Rukavina, Spajic, Zivkovic, Prijovic, Rajkovic, Veljkovic, Rodic, Grujic, Ljajic, Radonjic, Jovic Dmitrovic. World Cup record: Serbia Switzerland Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Schär, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Behrami; Shaqiri, Dzemaili, Zuber; Seferovic. Substitutes Moubandje, Elvedi, Lang, Embolo, Freuler, Mvogo, Fernandes, Gavranovic, Drmic, Djourou, Bürki. World Cup record: Switzerland Referee Felix Brych (Ger) 6:01PM Spoiler alert Ninety minutes' ebb and flow can be a bit of a distraction for some. If you'd like to know the final score now, have a go on the Telegraph's ingenious prediction brain: World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game 5:58PM The rumours were true One change - Kostic replaces Ljajic. Startnih 1⃣1⃣ | ������️���� ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#SrcemSvim ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#Orlovi#WorldCup#SRB#FSSpic.twitter.com/bMDvMc3fIt— Fudbalski savez Srbije | FA Serbia (@FSSrbije) June 22, 2018 5:50PM No official word from Serbia But the well-sourced rumours suggest one change, Adem Ljajic is out and Hamburg's thunderfoot Filip Kostic is in. 5:48PM Switzerland are unchanged Aufstellung / Compo / Formazione#HoppSchwiiz#HopSuisse#ForzaSvizzera#HopSvizra#SRBSUIpic.twitter.com/q64htHAT7Z— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 22, 2018 5:35PM Kaliningrad Stadium You don't have to be a Simon Inglisite to think 'Phwoar!': Kaliningrad Stadum Credit: David Ramos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images England play Belgium here on Thursday. 5:29PM Defusing a powder keg Here’s a novelty, a virgin World Cup fixture but of course, in the tortuous history of the Balkans, it isn’t what it seems. Both Fifa and Uefa consider Serbia as the sole successor of the Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro teams and as such hold that Yugoslavia’s 3-0 victory over Switzerland at Belo Horizonte at the 1950 World Cup and Serbia & Montenegro’s win in 2002 qualifying the year before mean that it isn’t strictly a maiden meeting. But the needle has nothing to do with onfield history and everything to do with that complex past. Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three likely Switzerland starters of Kosovan heritage,along with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami, but will be the only one who will take to the field with a flag of Kosovo embroidered on the heel of one boot. It has not gone down well in Serbia where it has been interpreted as incendiary provocation and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the centre-forward, spoke out against the proclamation of allegiance. “If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?” he said. Most matches are enhanced by a whiff of cordite but there is always a danger when fuelled by nationalist rancour that it can rapidly spiral towards combustion. World Cup 2018 stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium Perhaps, given that the match is being played in Kaliningrad, once Königsberg former capital of East Prussia, we should hope that some of the wisdom of the city’s favourite son, Immanuel Kant, prevails: “For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.” Right, handbrake turn away from pseudery, and back to the match. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov’s sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. We’ve seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. It should be tense and may take a touch of Serbia’s traditional midfield ingenuity or Shaqiri’s sporadic class to make it an engaging rather than simply an absorbing game.