Portugal await in the last 16
After Robert Gumny and Poland qualified on Wednesday, it was now Switzerland and Ruben Vargas’ turn to seal their place in the round of 16. FC Augsburg star Vargas set up the winning goal in their 3-2 victory over Serbia with a wonderful back-heel assist.
Vargas started the Swiss team’s final group stage game, with qualification in their own hands after their 1-0 win against Cameroon and 1-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil. The clash with Serbia proved to be an entertaining, back-and-forth affair, with Xherdan Shaqiri giving the Swiss the lead after 20 minutes. Serbia hit back, though, with goals from Alexander Mitrović (26’) and Dušan Vlahović (35’) turning the game around. Breel Embolo then found the net late on in the first half to make it 2-2 at half time.
Less than three minutes after the restart, Switzerland had once again flipped the game on its head, making it 3-2 with a fantastically worked goal. Shaqiri chipped the ball into the box, finding FCA man Vargas, who volleyed a majestic back-heel into the path of Remo Freuler to finish coolly into the bottom corner. Vargas’ performance was not just the wonderful assist, though; the 24-year-old impressed time and again down the left wing. With no more goals, the final whistle blew on a win for the “Nati”, putting them into the round of 16 as runners up in group G, behind a Brazil side which was beaten 1-0 by Cameroon at the same time.
Another big challenge awaits Switzerland next: they will face Portugal on Tuesday (06.12, 20:00 CET) for a place in the quarter finals. Alongside Vargas, Robert Gumny and Poland are also on the hunt for a spot in the last eight – they face a huge test against reigning champions France on Sunday (04.12, 16:00 CET).