Saturday, January 28, 2023

The ‘touched’ Serbia wants to wake up on time against Switzerland

Serbia faces this Friday (8:00 p.m.) against Switzerland the last day of group G of the Qatar World Cupaware that their chances of staying alive go through beating the Swiss team, which would make them forget a disappointing start to the World Cup, while the Swiss have everything in their face to be a team in the round of 16, entrusting themselves to the good rhythm of their gear.

Serbia came to Qatar as one of the possible ‘covers’ to go far in the tournament, after beating teams like Portugal in the qualifying phase. Nevertheless, they are not measuring up, in a group that did not seem to be too complicatedunable for the moment to celebrate a victory and only with one point in their locker.

The defeat against Brazil (2-0) in their debut could be expected given the high potential of the cariocas, but their draw (3-3) against Cameroon was more than disappointing. The Europeans beat an African team that seemed to be groggy, but after going 1-3, their competitiveness vanished and they paid for their ‘resignation’ with a draw that was little known. This situation makes Serbia’s options only go through a win over Switzerland and Cameroon not beating Brazil. If the Africans beat the ‘Canarinha’, it will be necessary to resort to goal difference and other tie-breaking criteria. For this reason, this Friday is an all or nothing game, so they must control the pressure and nervousness that may appear as the minutes go by and the goal moves away.

To avoid this, the figure of striker Vlahovic will emerge, until now ostracized due to a doubtful physical condition. Although his coach, Dragan Stojkovic, has already confirmed that he is much better and could have minutes with the scorer (1) Mitrovic, protected by the Tadic hinge. Wingers Kostic and Zivkovic will play a key role in finding that much-needed depth in such a sharp team.

Opposite will be a Switzerland that is second in group G with three points, thanks to its 1-0 win against Cameroon in its World Cup debut in Qatar. The subsequent defeat against Brazil (1-0) and the future of the shortlist of four teams now allow it to depend on itself to be in the round of 16. They will be in that tie if they beat Serbia or tie this duel, as long as Cameroon does not beat Brazil. It would be the third consecutive presence of Switzerland in the round of 16 of a World Cup, the first time they would achieve it in their history. In addition, they have not lost two consecutive games in a World Cup since the 1994 edition in the United States, so everything seems to be up for the Swiss team.

Without great frills in his game but with very reliable In its gear, Switzerland has become one of the teams that is managing to show one of its best versions. However, they will have to improve their goalscoring ability -only one goal in favor- to face the strength and intensity of the Serbs. Embolo will have a key role, along with a Shaquiri who could become the Swiss player with the most appearances in a World Cup, in what would be his eleventh World Cup duel.

Serbia comes into this duel with just one loss in their last 16 games against European teamswhile Switzerland won (1-2) the last match between the two, also in a group stage, in Russia 2018. The match will be marked by a political “rivalry” with Kosovo as an independent territory recognized by the UN in the middle, ay that Serbia does not support this independence, as their players showed with a banner that claimed the same thing.

Data sheet

possible alignments

SERBIA: V. Milinkovic-Savic; Veljkovic, Milenkovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, S. Milinkovic-Savic, Lukic, Kostic, Tadic; Mitrovic and Vlahovic.

SWITZERLAND: Summer; Wider, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Freuler, Sow; Shaquiri, Vargas and Embolo.


Fernando Rapallini (ARG).


Stadium 974.


20.00/World Goal and Movistar+.

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