Switzerland has once again proven that their so-often unheralded tag can come with progression into the round of 16 on football’s biggest stage after Murat Yakin’s men earned a comeback 3-2 win over Serbia at Stadium 974 in Doha.
It is the third World Cup in succession that has seen Nati advance into the knockout stage which can be extrapolated to five of the last six tournaments they have participated in after failing to qualify in 1998 and 2002 respectively.
Goals from Breel Embolo and Remo Freuler sealed all three points and saw the Swiss finish runner-up in Group G after Serbia had taken a 2-1 lead thanks to star striker dup Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dušan Vlahović, canceling out Xherdan Shaqiri’s 20th-minute opener.
But it was that very same opener from the veteran forward that set a historic goalscoring milestone for the national team after he became the first Swiss player to score in three World Cups.
Now plying his trade in MLS with Chicago Fire, Shaqiri will unquestionably go down as one of the most influential players in Swiss history, who also added to his impressive total caps (111) and overall goal tally (27) good enough for third and sixth in their respective all-time lists.
Perhaps most impressively, nine of Shaqiri’s 27 goals for his country have come during tournament play after his goal tonight was added to the four he scored across the 2014 and 2018 World Cups while hitting the same total across appearances at the 2016 and 2020 Euros.
With Switzerland now with a chance to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament for the third time in its history after achieving that same feat back in 1938 as well as 1950 as tournament hosts, Shaqiri will no doubt be expected to be the catalyst of any further success they hope to achieve this winter in Qatar.