Preview: Serbia vs. Switzerland

Serbia face Switzerland at Stadium 974 in their final Group G game on Friday, with the Eagles knowing that they need to win to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

A point is likely to be enough for second-placed Nati, as long as Cameroon fail to beat Brazil in the other remaining game in the group.

Match preview

Serbia's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic celebrates scoring against Cameroon at the World Cup on November 28, 2022

Serbia still have a fighting chance of progressing to the knockout stages, but they will be disappointed not to be in a better position heading into the final game.

In the opener, the Eagles fell to an expected defeat against Brazil, managing to hold the star-studded side off for quite some time, but a second-half Richarlison brace ensured that they took nothing from the match.

Despite the result, Dragan Stojkovic’s side could still have been in a far better position, had they just beaten Cameroon in their last game, and at one point they looked almost certain victors against the African side.

After Jean-Charles Castelletto opened the scoring for the opposition, goals from Strahinja Pavlovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic meant that Serbia went in at the break with a 2-1 lead.

Aleksandar Mitrovic added a third shortly after the restart, but two goals in quick succession from the Indomitable Lions mean that nothing but a win is good enough for Serbia, and even that would not grant them progression automatically, as it will come down to goal difference if Cameroon beat Brazil.

Switzerland manager Murat Yakin pictured on on November 24, 2022

Switzerland are in a very good position to progress to the knockout stages, courtesy of a 1-0 victory against Cameroon in their first game in Group G.

Breel Embolo scored the only goal of the game early on in the second half, securing a vital three points for his national side against the country of his birth.

That remains the only goal that Nati have managed to conjure up in their opening two games, falling to a 1-0 defeat against Brazil in their last match, despite holding them out for the majority of the game.

Casemiro struck late to deny Murat Yakin’s side an important point, but they are still in a very strong position at present, only needing to avoid defeat, unless Cameroon beat Brazil.

However, Ecuador were in the same position as Switzerland on Tuesday, as they only needed to avoid a defeat against Senegal to secure progression, which should serve as a reminder to Yakin’s players that there is still work to be done.

Team News

Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic in September 2022

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored his first goal of the tournament against Cameroon, and the talisman is now back to full fitness, ready to lead the line in the Serbia attack.

The supporting cast are likely to come in the form of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who is enjoying an impressive season with Lazio, while captain Dusan Tadic should feature on the right flank.

The Eagles will likely line up with a back three consisting of Strahinja Pavlovic, Milos Veljkovic and Nikola Milenkovic, who have been the choices in the previous two matches.

As for Switzerland, Noah Okafor is the only injury concern for Murat Yakin, as he currently has a muscle issue, although he was not a guaranteed starter anyway, having featured for fewer than 20 minutes against Cameroon.

Considering a point should be enough to secure progression for Nati, the manager may implement the same, more cautious approach he opted for against Brazil, with Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler sitting in front of the back four.

Breel Embolo should be the choice in attack, as the only player to score for Switzerland up to this point, being supported by Djibril Sow through the middle, while Ruben Vargas and a returning Xherdan Shaqiri could support in advanced wide roles.

Serbia possible starting lineup:
Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, Veljkovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Maksimovic, Lukic, Kostic; Tadic, Milinkovic-Savic, Mitrovic

Switzerland possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Widmer, Akanji, Elvedi, Rodriguez; Xhaka, Freuler; Shaqiri, Sow, Vargas; Embolo

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