Xherdan Shaqiri scored a last-minute winner to give Switzerland one foot in the last 16 of the World Cup after a 2-1 victory over Serbia.
The Stoke City forward kept his cool to put the finishing touch on a brilliant second-half fightback from Vladimir Petkovic's side that began when Granit Xhaka scored a thunderous equaliser early in the second half.
Arsenal midfielder Xhaka defied Switzerland's reputation as a side lacking in attacking threat when he rattled the ball into the net from 25 yards, pulling his team back into a game that had threatened to get away from them.
Aleksandar Mitrovic wreaked havoc in Switzerland's box throughout the first half, scoring the second opportunity presented to him for a Serbia team that looked assured and confident after beating Costa Rica 1-0 in their first game.
But their early energy and poise faded and the defeat leaves Mladen Krstajic's team heading into their last Group E game against Brazil knowing only a win can guarantee them a spot in the knockout stages.
Meanwhile Switzerland will meet already-eliminated Costa Rica and the way they improved throughout the course of this game will give their Bosnian coach every confidence that they can secure the point they need against Costa Rica to be sure of a place in the knockout stages for the second consecutive World Cup.
5 - Xherdan Shaqiri is involved in 5 of Switzerland's last 6 goals at the World Cup (4 goals, 1 assist). Unleashed. pic.twitter.com/AOwLVaBTf3— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 22, 2018
Switzerland failed to deal with the threat of Mitrovic as the Newcastle United striker terrorised their defence from the outset, drawing a reaction save from Yann Sommer after five minutes and then finding the net shortly after.
Dusan Tadic burst down the right and checked back onto his left foot to whip in a cross that Mitrovic met with a well-aimed header into the left side of the net beyond Sommer's reach.
Blerim Dzemaili dragged a shot wide from inside the penalty area as Switzerland began to probe for a way back into the game, but Serbia pressed and harried them and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic fired narrowly wide with a rising 20-yard drive.
With almost half an hour played Steven Zuber found a hole in the Serbia defence and threaded a pass for Dzemaili who drew a good one-handed save from Vladimir Stojkovic down to the goalkeeper's right.
Switzerland were fortunate to go in only 1-0 down at half-time, though, after a corner found Dusko Tosic unmarked at the far post, only for the defender to scuff wide.
Having looked tentative in the final third all game, Switzerland were anything but after 52 minutes when Shaqiri's shot rebounded back to Xhaka and the midfielder let fly from 25 yards, bulging the far corner of the net with a curling drive.
Shaqiri hit the frame of the goal with a bending effort of his own before Mitrovic was denied an opportunity at the other end by some extremely close marking, the 23-year-old being wrestled to the ground by Fabian Schar and Stephan Lichtsteiner at the far post with no protection from the officials.
Switzerland substitute Mario Gavranovic was flagged offside as he hit the side-netting with what looked like a golden opportunity, but the break seemed to put the wind in the Swiss sails.
And, in the final minute of normal time, Gavranovic played a superb throughball to Shaqiri, who outpaced Tosic and nutmegged Stojkovic with a low finish that sent the Swiss fans wild and allowed his country to dream of the knockout phase.
Key Opta stats:
- Switzerland's 2-1 victory over Serbia is the first game at the 2018 World Cup to see a side win from a losing position.
- As an independent nation, Serbia have lost each of the six World Cup matches in which they have conceded.
- Switzerland have lost just one of their last 24 matches (W17 D6), a 2-0 defeat to Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017.
- Switzerland have conceded a goal in three consecutive World Cup games; they had only conceded in three of the previous 10 before this run.
- Stephan Lichtsteiner made his ninth World Cup appearance for Switzerland in this game – the most of any Swiss player in history.
- Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 18 goals in 26 games for club and country in 2018.
- Five of Granit Xhaka's 10 goals for Switzerland have come from outside the box.
- Only Josef Hugi (6 goals) has scored more World Cup goals for Switzerland than Xherdan Shaqiri (four, tied with Robert Ballamann and Andre Abegglen).
|Kante at his best further forward, reiterates Sarri|
|Rose capitulates in Indonesia to squander chance to top rankings|
|Fielding: The better man won but I lived a dream|
|Rallying Bulls stun Spurs, LeBron and Ball post triple-doubles|
|Latham century puts New Zealand in commanding position|
|Mayfield leads Browns past Broncos|
|Canelo-GGG trilogy? We can make it happen – Alvarez|
|Canelo outclasses Fielding by third-round TKO|
|Farmer retains title prior to Canelo-Fielding bout|
|Qatar unveils Lusail Stadium for 2022 World Cup|
|Lakers pair LeBron, Ball revel in triple-double feat|
|Allegri hails ´great professional´ Ronaldo|
|LeBron, Ball first Lakers team-mates with triple-doubles in same game since 1982|
|Premier League contenders Liverpool ready to win titles – Henderson|
|Hopkins´ two TDs help Texans close in on AFC South title with win over Jets|
|Courtois: Simeone criticises Real Madrid to boost popularity|
|Mourinho in the dark over transfers as Pogba rumours swirl again|
|Mourinho marvels at Salah going nuclear|
|The lucky ones - Mourinho assesses Liverpool´s title charge|
|Juventus boss Allegri turned his back on Ronaldo penalty|
|Dickerson hoping Barkley falls short of breaking his records|
|Bristol shock La Rochelle, Clermont win again|
|LeBron: Meeting Jordan for first time was godly|
|Ronaldo scores Juventus´ 5,000th Serie A goal|
|I was all over the place - Allen reaches Scottish Open final despite hangovers|
|Solari defends wasteful Asensio after slim Madrid win|
|Torino 0 Juventus 1: Ronaldo capitalises on Zaza woe|
|I do my work on the pitch – Icardi unconcerned by Inter contract discussions|
|Lyon defender Rafael set for three months out|
|Inter captain Icardi is the ´perfect´ striker – Spalletti|
|Fulham have to stick together, says Ranieri|
|Nuno hails ´very special´ Wolves achievement after third straight win|
|Stuttgart captain Gentner´s father dies at Hertha fixture|
|Valverde not desperate for new centre-back amid talk of Christensen loan|
|Toulouse and Saracens stay perfect in Champions Cup|
|Kovac lauds Bayern´s best performance of the season|
|Barcelona can get the best out of Coutinho and Dembele, claims Valverde|
|Borussia Dortmund 2 Werder Bremen 1: Alcacer and Reus guarantee top spot for mid-season break|
|Bristol City 2 Norwich City 2: Canaries knocked off their perch despite late equaliser|
|Atletico´s fighting spirit lauded by Simeone, Godin|
|Hodgson relieved to see Palace end Zaha curse|
|Real Madrid 1 Rayo Vallecano 0: Benzema secures steady response to CSKA loss|
|Fulham 0 West Ham 2: Snodgrass, Antonio punish profligate hosts|
|Warnock brands refereeing situation ´a disgrace´ after Watford defeat|
|Inter 1 Udinese 0: Icardi penalty gets lethargic Nerazzurri back on track|
|Wagner retains belief in survival bid despite Newcastle defeat|
|Griezmann feeling the strain after busy 2018|
|Pochettino ´so pleased´ as tired Tottenham scrap to Burnley win|
|Man Utd hand Smalling new contract|
|ES Tunis 0 Al Ain 3: Convincing victory books River Plate semi|
|Championship Review: Bamford fires Leeds to summit, Middlesbrough defeated by QPR|
|Curry reacts to Kings´ trolling with moon landing video|
|Wentz ruled out of Rams clash|
|Pochettino reaches 100 Premier League wins for Tottenham faster than Wenger for Arsenal|
|Real Valladolid 2 Atletico Madrid 3: Griezmann the hero on landmark appearance|
|Silva rues Richarlison´s missed chances at City|
|Gibson has no worries over Proteas batsmen|
|Wolves 2 Bournemouth 0: Jimenez and Cavaleiro score against toothless Cherries|
|Crystal Palace 1 Leicester City 0: Captain Milivojevic earns vital victory|
|Watford 3 Cardiff City 2: Hornets hang on despite late fightback|
|Tottenham 1 Burnley 0: Eriksen snatches victory at the death|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Newcastle United 1: Rondon strike settles scrap|
|Sabres suspend forward Berglund for failing to report to the team|
|Saunders thanks Fury for getting him ´back on the right track´|
|Hannover 0 Bayern Munich 4: Gnabry and Kimmich star in crushing win|
|I admire Sterling – Guardiola|
|City´s strength in depth makes it hard for me – Jesus|
|Jamieson holds slender lead in Malelane|
|Kashima Antlers 3 Guadalajara 2: Comeback win sets up Real Madrid semi-final|
|Hosszu claims fourth Hangzhou gold, Le Clos beaten by Santos|