Serbia missed the chance to book their spot in the knockout round of the 2018 World Cup with a match to spare as they lost 2-1 to Switzerland in Group E on Friday night.
Mladen Krstajic’s team entered the match knowing that a victory would see them advance to the round of 16, but Granit Xhaka’s second-half effort cancelled an early header from Aleksandar Mitrovic, before Xherdan Shaqiri won it for Switzerland in the final minute.
Switzerland have joined Brazil on four points, while Serbia sit third on three points ahead of the final matchday, which sees Switzerland take on already-eliminated Costa Rica, and Serbia lock horns with Brazil.
It was Serbia that made the breakthrough in the fifth minute, however, when Mitrovic headed a wonderful Dusan Tadic cross into the far corner of the net.
Mitrovic had brought a fine save from Yann Sommer moments before, but the Switzerland goalkeeper could not keep out the Newcastle United forward’s next effort as the deadlock was broken.
Rodriguez found space outside the Serbia box early in the second period before striking towards goal, but the left-back’s effort was always moving wide of the post.
Switzerland were level in the 52nd minute, however, when Xhaka’s long-range strike flew past Stojkovic before nestling in the back of the Serbia net.
Serbia had a glorious chance to regain the lead 20 minutes from time when Aleksandar Kolarov delivered a sensational low cross into the Switzerland box, but Mitrovic just could not make contact at the far post.
That opportunity came after Mitrovic appeared to be wrestled to the ground by two defenders inside the Switzerland box, but neither the referee nor VAR were interested.
The two teams were still locked at 1-1 entering the final 10 minutes of action, but it was Switzerland pushing for the second, with Shaqiri flashing another attempt over the crossbar before Mario Gavranovic was denied by Stojkovic.
Switzerland won it in the final minute, however, when Shaqiri raced clear of the Serbian defence before expertly slotting into the bottom corner.