Serbia prepare to take game to Switzerland in bid to salvage knockout hopes

Serbia, with just one point from two games, must beat the Swiss to have any hope of progressing.
Serbia prepare to take game to Switzerland in bid to salvage knockout hopes

By Andy Hampson, PA

Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic has vowed to get on the front foot and attack Switzerland in his side’s decisive final World Cup group game on Friday.

Serbia, with just one point from two games, must beat the Swiss to have any hope of progressing to the last 16 at Qatar 2022.

Even with a victory, their fate will rest on the result of the other Group G match between Brazil and Cameroon, but Stojkovic at least wants to go down fighting.

Serbia manager Dragan Stojkovic
Dragan Stojkovic has told his team to attack (Niall Carson/PA)

“It is going to be a difficult match, but we need to decide on our destiny,” said Stojkovic, whose side surrendered a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 with Cameroon last time out. “Have no dilemma, we will do our best.

“You can’t win if you don’t attack. We intend to play attacking football without forgetting to defend ourselves.

“We know that Switzerland are a very well-organised team and this is a game of patience in which a lot of factors can be decisive, but in order to win you need to attack.”

Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is confident Serbia can get the required victory.

Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates scoring against Cameroon
Mitrovic (left) was on target against Cameroon (Nick Potts/PA)

The Fulham forward said: “We believe in ourselves and in what we do and I’m quite convinced that if we play the best we can, that we will go through to the next stage.

“I feel really fit and well and, just like the entire team, can’t wait for the match.”

Switzerland’s preparations for the game at Stadium 974 have been hampered by a virus sweeping through their squad this week.

Goalkeeper Yann Sommer and defender Nico Elvedi are still feeling under the weather, but coach Murat Yakin expects them to be fit.

Yakin said: “They had an uncomfortable night because they both have heavy colds, but they will be able to play. I’m quite confident they will feel better tomorrow.”

Yann Sommer
Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer is expected to overcome a virus (Adam Davy/PA)

The Swiss know victory will guarantee them a place in the next round and a draw may also be sufficient.

Yakin said: “We need to play our football and it is important that we stick to our plan.

“Our aim is to qualify and we need to give it our best, to make sure we deserve to win by putting everything out there on the pitch.

“It is not going to be easy against this opponent, but we are a strong team. We have the experience and the qualities to qualify.”

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