By Selcuk Bugra Gokalp
ANKARA (AA) - Switzerland beat Serbia 3-2 in Group G on Friday to reach the Round of 16 at the World Cup.
Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka's early attempt was deflected by Serbia's defense in the first minute at Stadium 974 in Qatar.
Serbia's Nikola Milenkovic missed a promising header in the sixth minute.
Andrija Zivkovic of Serbia first hit the crossbar then Dusan Tadic's touch on the rebound made its way to goalie Gregor Kobel's hands in the 11th minute.
Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri netted the first goal of the match in the 20th minute.
Serbia's Aleksandar Mitrovic leveled the score with a classy header six minutes later.
Shaqiri missed a goal chance by inches while one-on-one with Serbia keeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic in the 30th minute.
Dusan Vlahovic completed the comeback for Serbia with his maiden World Cup goal in the 35th minute. The euphoria did not last.
Switzerland's Silvan Widmer's assist allowed Breel Embolo to score an easy equalizer in the 44th minute and the first half ended 2-2.
Switzerland started the second half well when Remo Freuler gave the team the lead in the 48th minute.
Serbia’s Strahinja Pavlovic was booked in the 56th minute and will miss the next World Cup match.
Embolo wasted a great chance to extend the lead for Switzerland in the six-yard box in the 57th minute.
Serbia's Tadic shot came close but the ball went over the goal by inches from close range in the 61st minute.
Several players from the Serbian bench got onto the pitch and the game paused for a few minutes. Goalie Predrag Rajkovic was booked on the bench in the 66th minute.
Swiss Manuel Akanji's freekick missed the goal by inches in the 83rd minute.
Serbia goalie Milinkovic-Savic made a critical save on a one-on-one with Christian Fassnacht in the 89th minute.
Nemanja Radonjic's shot went wide in the 100th minute.
The Swiss are through to the Round of 16 by finishing Group G in second place with 6 points.
Switzerland will take on Portugal in the next round on Tuesday.