Shaqiri scores and assists to help power Switzerland through to FIFA World Cup Round of 16


Chicago Fire Designated Player Xherdan Shaqiri was once again in the starting XI for the Switzerland Men's National Team in 2022 FIFA World Cup play on Friday, as they took down Serbia 3-2 to advance to the tournament's knockout round.

On the final matchday for Group G, Shaqiri played a crucial role is securing his side's second-place finish by scoring the game's opening goal in the 19th minute and serving in the key pass to set up Remo Freuler's match-winner in the 48th.

Shaqiri's goal came after midfielder Djibril Sow received the ball at the top of the Serbia 18-yard box following a deflection. Sow turned to his right and slid the ball to a waiting Shaqiri, who curled a left-footed shot into the near-post past Serbia goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic. In doing so, Shaqiri became the first active Fire player to score a goal at the FIFA World Cup. 

In addition, Shaqiri became one of just three players to score in each of the last three men's FIFA World Cup tournaments - joining Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - and is also the only Switzerland player to score at three separate iterations of the tournament.

Shaqiri showed his quality once again in the 48th minute, with the match tied at two apiece and Switzerland in need of a win to qualify for the knockout stage. After picking up the ball with space outside the Serbia 18, Shaqiri calmly lifted the ball over the defense to the heel of Rubén Vargas, who laid it off for Freuler to finish. It was Shaqiri's second assist of the tournament, following his set up of the Swiss match-winner in their 1-0 win over Cameroon in the Group G opener on Nov. 24.

With the win, Shaqiri and the Swiss finished Group G play with six points, level with winners Brazil but one behind the Seleção on goal differential. They'll now face Group H winners Portugal in the single-elimination Round of 16 on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. CT.