Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Portugal's "historic" World Cup win over Switzerland, a match in which he was dropped by head coach Fernando Santos.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos named his superstar forward on the bench having been left disappointed by his reaction to being substituted in their final group-stage game against South Korea.

It marked another chapter in a tumultuous period for Ronaldo, who departed Manchester United by mutual consent in the wake of an incendiary interview with Piers Morgan.

Santos later said the matter had been solved internally, but Ronaldo's replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick and assisted another in the 6-1 rout of Switzerland that set up a quarter-final tie with Morocco.

Ronaldo did come off the bench and had a goal rightly ruled offside, before later hailing the performance of the team via an Instagram post.

"Amazing day for Portugal, with a historic result in the biggest contest in world soccer. Luxury display by a team full of talent and youth," he wrote.

"Congratulations to our national team. The dream is alive! To the very end! Come on, Portugal!"

Portugal coach Fernando Santos insists his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo is unchanged despite dropping the captain for Tuesday's 6-1 win over Switzerland at the World Cup.

Ronaldo was benched after Santos expressed his disappointment with the striker's attitude following his substitution during last week's defeat to South Korea.

Santos said on Monday the matter had been resolved internally, but Ronaldo was then dropped to the bench for the clash at Lusail Stadium, starting a major-tournament match among the substitutes for the first time since 2008 (31 games).

A fan poll on the website of Portuguese newspaper A Bola suggested 70 per cent of Portugal fans wanted Ronaldo out of the team, and the Selecao went on to produce one of their best performances at a major tournament in years.

Goncalo Ramos replaced Ronaldo in the attack and had a hand in four goals, including a hat-trick, but Santos did not commit to keeping faith in the Benfica prospect for the quarter-final against Morocco.

Santos told reporters: "That's still something that has to be defined [who starts in the next game]. I already answered in yesterday's press conference [regarding Ronaldo]; there is no problem between us.

"I have a strong relationship with him, I always have. I have known him since he was young and at Sporting [CP], and then it started to develop in the national team.

"This relationship only developed. We've been friends for many years, things don't affect us.

"I already explained everything was resolved. I said that and I repeat that now. This is something that's finished and resolved.

"How he came in with a lot of will, he set an example as a great captain."

In scoring his hat-trick, Ramos became the first player to net three times on his first World Cup start since Miroslav Klose in 2002.

Similarly, it only took him 17 minutes to do what Ronaldo has never managed: score in a World Cup knockout game.

For most, Ramos starting the quarter-final clash would be a simple decision to make, but Santos intends to keep people guessing.

"Obviously I have my ways to observes things, I always have," he continued. "The players we have in this position obviously have many different characteristics.

"Andre [Silva] plays more advanced, Cristiano is more fixed, he plays in a determined area. Goncalo is dynamic.

"That's what he ended up showing us, but it was nothing new because he came on in two other games.

"I have three players I fully trust and for each match I will use what I think is the right strategy, as I have always done in my career."

Tuesday's success was Portugal's biggest ever victory in the knockout rounds of the World Cup, with it the first time they have scored six beyond the group stage.

It was a truly rampant performance, though Santos was particularly pleased that his team did not get carried away with the euphoria.

"It's exactly what I said [to the players]; when we are euphoric, I think we can go beyond what we should do in a match.

"We can end up having a bit too much fun, to use that expression, and football is not fun. Yes, you have to play, have fun in the field, but too much fun is not appropriate.

"In this aspect, in terms of how serious they were, they were fantastic."

Portugal will face Morocco in their quarter-final at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.

Xherdan Shaqiri apologised for Switzerland's performance in their 6-1 loss to Portugal, crediting their opponents but saying: "We have to do better."

Switzerland exited the World Cup with a dismal last-16 defeat, completely outclassed by a Portugal side who had left Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.

Goncalo Ramos replaced Ronaldo and scored one of two first-half goals before completing a hat-trick in a rampant second half.

Murat Yakin's men were never in the contest, only reducing the arrears when Manuel Akanji bundled in from a corner to make it 4-1.

"We are all disappointed, the whole team," Shaqiri said afterwards. "I just want to apologise to all the people in Switzerland, because we were not at our best today.

"We lost the game already in the first half against Portugal, who are a very good team. You saw the kind of goal they can score. With all respect, we have to do better.

"We have to learn from our mistakes, and if we are behind 2-0 against Portugal, it's always very, very difficult to come back. We just were not at our best today, from everybody."

Yakin had changed system, starting with a three-man defence, but he did not believe this was the problem for his side.

"We had a clear plan, we have practised it, we also had test games, the team was familiar with the system," the Switzerland coach said. "We tried to put pressure on using the flanks, but unfortunately it didn't work.

"Ronaldo or not, our players are able to play in every position. Yes, our opponents got a good start in the game, we saw many things not work out for us. There's nothing we could've done today."

Shaqiri did not dwell on Ronaldo's omission, indicating the depth of talent Portugal have at their disposal.

"It's the whole team," he said. "You saw today: he was on the bench, and they scored a lot of goals, too. The quality is there from the whole team, and we saw this today."

The winger added: "Portugal is for me a favourite and also was before the tournament. They have a good team, a quality team, and we will see in the end how far they're going to go.

"You saw today, in the offensive, they are very good. They can go very far."

Joao Felix appeared to take a swipe at Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone by stating conditions with Portugal are more "favourable" than with the LaLiga giants.

The Atleti forward has been linked with a move away from the Wanda Metropolitano, with Los Rojiblancos chief executive Gil Marin believing a January exit is "reasonable" to expect.

Joao Felix has scored 33 goals for Atleti since arriving from Benfica for €126million in 2019 - a tally only bettered by Luis Suarez (34) during that span.

But the 23-year-old has a frosty relationship with Simeone, with the pair reportedly falling out earlier this season. 

And he appeared to aim a dig at his club boss after Portugal booked their World Cup quarter-final place with a comprehensive 6-1 rout of Switzerland on Tuesday.

"The way you play here and at the club are different," he said. "When the conditions are favourable, things go better."

Joao Felix set up two of Goncalo Ramos' three goals against the Swiss, becoming the third Portugal player to provide two assists in a World Cup game after Jose Torres - against Brazil in 1966 - and Bruno Fernandes - versus Ghana in this tournament.

He saluted Portugal's most impressive performance so far in Qatar, where he feels confidence and concentration levels are high in Fernando Santos' side ahead of facing Morocco in the last eight.

"The preparation was the same as the other games," he added. "We saw what was best and worst and played because of that, not losing our identity. We played a great game, perhaps the best so far.

"We are focused and believe completely in us. I hope it's been shown that we have a great team, we know what we want. We have the support of everyone, and won't be held back."

Goncalo Ramos is unsure if he will be picked ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo again in Portugal's World Cup quarter-final after a last-16 experience beyond his "wildest dreams".

The Benfica striker was a surprise choice from the start in Tuesday's game against Switzerland but justified his selection by hitting a hat-trick in a 6-1 rout.

The pre-match focus was on Ronaldo's demotion to the bench, but Ramos hogged the limelight once the match kicked off.

Even starting seemed improbable for the 21-year-old, who made his international debut in November, let alone scoring three times.

"Not even in my wildest dreams I thought of being in the starting eleven in the knockout stages of the World Cup," Ramos said, but he does not know if he will keep his place for a last-eight meeting with Morocco.

The forward added to RTP: "These are matters that are not for me. I have to work to the fullest and then you see what's going to happen."

Ramos was named the player of the match and revealed Ronaldo's support in his post-match news conference.

"Honestly, in our team, no-one talked about [Ronaldo being dropped]," he said. "Cristiano as captain did as he always does, helped us, encouraged us, not only to myself but to my colleagues."

The level of Ramos' performance may have come as a shock to some, but not to team-mate Bruno Fernandes.

"If you've never heard about him, it's because people are not aware of the quality of the Portuguese league," the Manchester United man said.

"He has been doing really well in the Champions League, first in the group of PSG, so people should be aware of Goncalo, of his qualities.

"I'm really happy for him, because a hat-trick at his age is a big achievement. But for Goncalo and for everyone else, the most important thing is that we are in the quarter-finals against Morocco."

Bruno Fernandes suggested Cristiano Ronaldo had been angry with Fernando Santos' decision to bench the Portugal captain, while he believes the veteran forward also would have thrived in the 6-1 win over Switzerland.

Ronaldo came out of the Portugal XI following a moment of controversy in the side's previous match against South Korea, when he appeared to insult Santos after being substituted.

Santos "really didn't like it at all" but insisted the matter had been "resolved" before naming Ronaldo among the substitutes against Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup.

Goncalo Ramos, drafted in to replace Ronaldo, scored a hat-trick in a stunning display at Lusail Stadium, while the Portugal skipper failed to net as a second-half substitute – though he did see an effort rightly ruled out for offside,

Asked of Ronaldo's reaction following Santos' decision, Fernandes said: "It was like everyone else. Do you think anyone likes to be on the bench?

"Jose Sa – he didn't play one minute, he knows that he's the third goalkeeper, but he's not happy to be on the bench.

"Do you think Cristiano would be happy? If the manager in the next game put me on the bench, I would be angry."

But Fernandes bristled at the idea Portugal had won specifically because Ronaldo had come out of the team.

"We won the first two games with Cristiano in the first XI," the midfielder said. "If Cristiano had played, he could have scored three goals and nobody would be talking about Cristiano on the bench.

"Cristiano is doing his job, he's doing his part, and he's happy with the result, because the goal for everyone is to go as far as possible.

"I don't think people should be talking about the situation with Cristiano and why he's playing, why he's not playing.

"When Cristiano plays and the team wins, nobody talks about that. When Cristiano plays and the team loses, everyone talks about that."

Even as Portugal scored goal after goal in the second half, the crowd in Lusail chanted Ronaldo's name and jeered as they waited for his introduction.

Fernandes added: "Cristiano is the most famous player in the world, of all time. No-one is more famous than Cristiano in sports. Not in football, in sports.

"It's normal that people come to see Cristiano, cheering him and everything. I don't see any surprise in that. I don't know why anyone is surprised by that.

"Cristiano is Cristiano. It's normal that people are cheering him, even if he's on the bench and not playing. It's a simple thing."

Cristiano Ronaldo risks bringing his career to an unsavoury end after displaying a petulant attitude in recent months, according to his former Manchester United team-mate Gary Neville.

Ronaldo was dropped by Portugal ahead of their World Cup last-16 tie with Switzerland on Tuesday, having irritated coach Fernando Santos with his reaction to being substituted in a group-stage defeat to South Korea. 

Portugal did not suffer for the striker's absence as his replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a brilliant hat-trick in a 6-1 rout of the Swiss, teeing up a quarter-final meeting with Morocco.

Ronaldo has courted controversy on several occasions this season, with his turbulent second spell at United being ended by mutual consent last month after he said the club had "betrayed" him in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

Speaking to ITV ahead of Portugal's game on Tuesday, Neville showed little sympathy for Ronaldo's situation, saying he must accept the end of his career is approaching.

"This is a manager who has had an unbelievable relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo for eight years," Neville said.

"There are a lot of fans of Cristiano Ronaldo who aren't willing to tell him the truth and I think he does need to listen to the truth.

"It's becoming a little bit of a scruffy end. The petulance, the stomping around, the sulking… it's got to stop because it doesn't reflect well on him at all.

"His long-term legacy is set, he's protected, he's one of the all-time great players, but in the short term, he's got to do a lot better because… is the Juventus manager wrong? Is the Manchester United manager wrong? And now is the Portugal manager wrong? There's three of them that now have done the same thing with him.

"You're leaving the game early like you did at United twice, stomping off the other day [against South Korea]. It's coming to that point where he's not accepting the end of his career very well."

Ronaldo – who has been strongly linked with a move to Saudi Professional League outfit Al Nassr in recent days – was introduced as a 73rd-minute substitute with Portugal already 5-1 up.

While Neville believes Ronaldo's drive to be the best served him well in the past, he says the five-time Ballon d'Or winner must now accept a more limited role.

"His single mindedness has been one of his greatest strengths over the last 10 or 15 years," Neville added.

"His determination to become one of the best in the world, to score the most goals, to break all the records, that fight with [Lionel] Messi.

"But there comes a point where you still have to think about the collective and that's your team-mates in the dressing room."

Cristiano Ronaldo's benching was fully vindicated as his replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick to guide Portugal into the World Cup quarter-finals courtesy of a 6-1 demolition of Switzerland.

Fernando Santos had been angered by Ronaldo's attitude after being substituted in their defeat to South Korea and the veteran coach took the opportunity to bench the out-of-form 37-year-old on Tuesday.

It took Ramos 17 minutes to do what Ronaldo has never done for Portugal: score in a World Cup knockout game, and he would ultimately have a hand in four goals.

Pepe, captain in Ronaldo's absence, got Portugal's second and Ramos also teed up Raphael Guerreiro, with Manuel Akanji's consolation for Switzerland prior to Ramos' hat-trick goal and Rafael Leao's late stunner a mere footnote.

Ramos' opener was entirely out of keeping with a dull opening.

Joao Felix passed into the left side of the area and, after taking a touch, Ramos sent a bullet of a left-footed strike into the top-left corner from a tight angle.

A fingertip Diogo Costa save from Xherdan Shaqiri's free-kick just before the half-hour kept Portugal in front and they capitalised three minutes later as Pepe headed home Bruno Fernandes' corner.

Any hope of a turnaround was swiftly put down by two goals early in the second half.

Ramos first turned in Diogo Dalot's low cross before the striker unselfishly teed up Guerreiro.

Akanji knocked in at the back post after a Portugal defender inadvertently flicked on a corner, but the deficit was four again soon after – Ramos' impudent dink over Yann Sommer completing a memorable treble.

He was later brought off as Ronaldo – who had a late goal disallowed for offside – entered, but Portugal were not done yet, with Leao burying a gorgeous curler in stoppage time.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been left on the bench for Portugal's match against Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup.

Ronaldo's role in the Portugal team has been the subject of some debate in recent days following his substitution in the final group game against South Korea.

The free agent forward appeared to offer a dissenting comment towards coach Fernando Santos, who said on Monday: "I really didn't like it at all."

Santos added the issues had been "resolved", with the focus on facing Switzerland, but Ronaldo was not in his starting line-up when the team news was announced on Tuesday.

The all-time leading international goalscorer was replaced by Goncalo Ramos, with Pepe taking over the captain's armband.

Ronaldo is still waiting on his first knockout goal at a World Cup, having seen great rival Lionel Messi break his duck on Saturday.

The 37-year-old was released from his Manchester United contract earlier in the tournament and is yet to agree a deal with a new club, although a significant offer from Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia has been reported.

Switzerland are aware they are not favourites against Portugal in the last 16, but they also know that tag has not meant a great deal at this World Cup.

There has been no shortage of shocks at Qatar 2022, including Portugal losing their previous match 2-1 to South Korea.

Switzerland do not require long memories to recall a victory of their own against Portugal either. This is the third meeting between the sides in 2022, with Haris Seferovic scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory in their last encounter in the Nations League.

Indeed, Switzerland also beat Portugal 2-0 in the sides' only previous clash at a major tournament at Euro 2008.

"We know how to beat them," said Xherdan Shaqiri. "This will be a completely different game.

"There is much more pressure for both sides, and whoever loses will go home. This will make the game much more exciting. 

 

"Portugal are favourites, but we saw the example of Argentina [against Australia] that everyone expected they had an easy game and they had a lot of difficulties.

"Just as Australia posed problems to Argentina, with a special game on our part, we can pose a lot of problems to Portugal."

Switzerland have never won three matches at a single World Cup, but they took six points in Group G as only goal difference separated them from pre-tournament favourites Brazil.

They have not made the quarter-finals since hosting the tournament in 1954, although Portugal have themselves only been beyond this stage twice.

Indeed, the Selecao's last knockout win at the World Cup (not including penalty shoot-outs) came in a last-16 tie against the Netherlands in 2006.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo is rarely not Portugal's player to watch – "we can't take our eyes off him," said Shaqiri – but that is especially true heading into the knockout rounds. 

Until Saturday, Ronaldo had shared with Lionel Messi the record for the most World Cup goals without ever scoring in the knockout stage (eight)... then Messi broke his duck.

Switzerland – Xherdan Shaqiri

If Switzerland are focusing on Ronaldo, Portugal may likewise be keeping a keen eye on Shaqiri. 

After scoring against Serbia, he is the first Switzerland player to net at three different World Cups, and is just one shy of Josef Hugi's Swiss record of six finals goals.

PREDICTION

As Shaqiri suggested, Portugal are the favourites, given a 51.5 per cent chance of winning by the supercomputer.

The Selecao have only drawn one World Cup knockout game, going on to beat England on penalties in 2006, but that outcome is rated at 26.8 per cent. 

A repeat of Switzerland's Nations League success against Fernando Santos' men is given a 21.7 per cent chance.

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Uruguayan Football Association and four of the Celeste's players – including Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin – following the team's furious reaction to their World Cup exit.

Uruguay failed to escape Group H despite Friday's 2-0 win over Ghana, as South Korea advanced at their expense following their comeback victory against Portugal.

Diego Alonso's team were ultimately eliminated on the basis of goals scored, and reacted angrily when Cavani was denied a late penalty after going down in the Ghana 18-yard box.

Social media footage showed the former Manchester United striker pushing the VAR monitor over after the final whistle, while several other Uruguay players surrounded referee Daniel Siebert.

FIFA detailed the charges, alleging misconduct of Uruguayan players and officials, offensive behaviour and discrimination, in a statement released on Monday.

The statement also said Uruguay quartet Cavani, Godin, Jose Gimenez and Fernando Muslera were being investigated separately for alleged offences relating to offensive behaviour, violations of the principles of fair play and misconduct. 

Speaking after the game, which almost certainly marked the end of his World Cup career, striker Luis Suarez declared: "FIFA is always against Uruguay".

In a separate statement, FIFA revealed Serbia would also face charges of misconduct, discrimination and failure to preserve order and security following their fractious 3-2 defeat to Switzerland on the same day.

Serbia's loss ensured they finished bottom of Group G, while Switzerland advanced to the last 16 by joining pre-tournament favourites Brazil on six points.

Breel Embolo hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as an inspiration and Kylian Mbappe as a role model ahead of Switzerland's World Cup last-16 tie against Portugal.

Embolo has impressed for the Swiss in Qatar, scoring twice in the group stage.

That is one more goal than Ronaldo has managed, with the Portugal captain netting only in their opening win over Ghana, with the goal coming from the penalty spot.

It did, however, make Ronaldo the first man to score at five different World Cups, and Embolo is honoured to get the chance to go up against the 37-year-old on the biggest stage.

"I think Cristiano, not just for forwards, but for all athletes, is a great inspiration and is enriching for our time," he said in a press conference.

"You can only learn from someone like him. As a player and a person, it's an honour to be facing him."

France star Mbappe, meanwhile, has been in superb form, scoring five goals to lead the charge for the Golden Boot, with his excellent double against Poland on Sunday sending Les Bleus into a quarter-final against England.

Mbappe already has nine World Cup goals to his name, as many as Lionel Messi and more than Ronaldo (eight). Aged 23 years and 349 days, he is the youngest player to score five knockout-stage goals at the competition since Brazil great Pele in 1958.

Embolo is almost two years older than Mbappe, but the Monaco forward still sees him as a player to look up to.

"He's incredible. He's 23 years old, he's an incredible player, I know him from Ligue 1 and he is a role model even for me," Embolo said of Mbappe.

"What he's doing at the moment is really impressive, so I want to congratulate him, he is extraordinary.

"Nine goals in World Cups at 23 – it says everything about him. I really wish him all the best, and for him to score nine more World Cup goals."

After a full-blooded victory over Serbia to make the last 16, Switzerland are looking to win three games in a single World Cup tournament for the first time in their history.

Asked if this was the most promising Swiss squad he had been a part of at a major tournament, Embolo replied: "It's like all generations, there is a change. I joined this group six, seven years ago, so it's difficult to say this is the best generation.

"There have been very great players and these players showed us how to integrate, like Yann Sommer or Granit Xhaka. It's important to keep these values in the team and transmit to the next generation.

"If I learned something it's that if we had challenging times in our lives or at our clubs but we were always together."

This will be the third meeting between Portugal and Switzerland in 2022, having faced each other twice in the Nations League in June.

Portugal won 4-0 in a match played in Lisbon, before Switzerland won 1-0 in Geneva a week later.

"We are ready, the squad is complete. It's a big opportunity for us to make history for Switzerland, we have seen how euphoric the Swiss people are about us being at this stage," said coach Murat Yakin.

"Statistics and the past don't matter, we will focus on this game. We are familiar with this opponent and we've proven we can beat them. Everything else is history."

Ruben Dias pleaded with the Portuguese media to promote unity rather than trying to create a divide following criticism of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fernando Santos' Portugal side will face Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup on Tuesday after winning Group H despite a shock defeat to South Korea on matchday three.

Ronaldo endured a particularly difficult day against the Taeguk Warriors.

He failed to hit the target with either of his two shots and was caught offside three times, with a couple of those situations raising questions of his concentration.

The 37-year-old was withdrawn in the second half and simultaneously had a disagreement with South Korea forward Cho Gue-sung.

Since then, a poll on the website of Portuguese newspaper A Bola suggests 70 per cent of supporters want Ronaldo to be dropped, and defender Dias had a defiant response.

"I actually think you shouldn't ask Ruben Dias that, but you should ask that to Cristiano Ronaldo," the defender told reporters.

"I'd like to take this moment to say, in this tournament the press is supporting us and Ronaldo, so I'd like to make an appeal to the press; as we progress, instead of creating a divide, create unity, then who knows maybe we'll have good strength and positive energy for all involved."

If Ronaldo was to be dropped, Rafael Leao would be among the favourites to step in.

The Milan forward came on as a substitute in all three of Portugal's group games, but Santos appears to think he still requires some adaptation work.

"He has a huge potential, and I think he will have a promising career," Santos added.

"But of course he faces the difficulties of any player who has a place in a club like his, where he plays more on the left and playing for the club he has more freedom.

"But at national team level, he needs to adapt to the others, to players who excel for their clubs but have a different [role] at the national team."

Granit Xhaka found himself at the centre of another controversy involving Serbia after donning a shirt with 'Jashari' on the back following Switzerland’s 3-2 win in Doha on Friday.

Xhaka produced a man of the match display as the Swiss hit back from 2-1 down to secure second place in Group G and advance to a last-16 clash with Portugal on Tuesday.

But his actions after the final whistle could attract the attention of FIFA.

In the post-match celebrations, Xhaka put on a shirt carrying the name 'Jashari'. Asked afterwards what it meant, the Arsenal midfielder claimed it was for Switzerland squad member Ardon Jashari.

However, the name carries significance in other ways with Adem Jashari a late founder of the Kosovo Liberation Army, a Kosovo Albanian separatist group that fought for independence from the former Yugoslavia.

Xhaka is of ethnic Albanian heritage linked to Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008 but has not been recognised by Serbia. 

Asked about the shirt afterwards, Xhaka said: "There’s no political background to it whatsoever.

"Ardon is part of our squad and we spend a lot of time together. I told him if we won I would wear his shirt."

Xhaka was a key figure throughout a feisty encounter. He also prompted a second-half melee that saw the Serbia bench encroach on to the pitch after making a crude gesture, thought to be in the direction of substitute goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic, whose personal life has been the subject of speculation this week.

Switzerland boss Murat Yakin said he will "wait and see" if action is taken against Xhaka.

"We will enjoy this moment, it cost us a lot of emotions and energy. It was a fair match," he said.

"Before the game a lot of people were talking about the situation but we were able to face that challenge.

"We are happy we are moving on. Everything else is speculation and we will wait and see."

On the incident involving Rajkovic, Yakin added: "What I saw was a Granit Xhaka who was focused fully on football and performed very well. I saw the players from Serbia crossing the line, and others trying to calm them down. It was a normal exchange."

It is not the first time Xhaka has been embroiled in controversy against Serbia. At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he and Xherdan Shaqiri were fined after crossing their hands to mimic the eagle displayed on the Albanian flag in Switzerland’s 2-1 win.

Shaqiri also played his part in Switzerland's victory here, scoring the opening goal at Stadium 974, but appeared annoyed to be taken off after 69 minutes.

"No-one likes to be subbed," Yakin said. "Every player wants to play the whole game, but it’s part of my responsibility to protect players. He scored his goal and had a great assist.

"The substitutes brought great energy and I thought they did well."

The flashpoints overshadowed a wonderful game with Switzerland’s greater composure at key moments proving decisive.

Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic praised his players but lamented the fact so many were struggling for fitness throughout their time in Qatar. He also insisted he had no intention of resigning.

He said: "We are not happy with the result but, given the problems we faced from our arrival here and the injuries we had to contend with, it was too much for us to cope with.

"The guys put up a fight but at this level that is not enough.

"As for my future, in March we start the qualifiers for the European Championship and we have a great desire to qualify."

Stojkovic claimed not to hear any of the chants that prompted an announcement over the public address system asking fans to refrain from discriminatory songs or gestures, thought to originate from sections housing Serbian supporters.

Switzerland playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri proved Serbia's nemesis once more by helping knock Dragan Stojkovic's men out of the World Cup on a tumultuous night at Stadium 974.

Shaqiri netted a last-minute winner against Serbia at the 2018 tournament in Russia and celebrated by making an eagle shape with his hands to show his support for Kosovo, the country of his birth and a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. That independence is not recognised by Serbia. 

The Chicago Fire man was booed and jeered throughout while at least one Serbia fan was thrown out for anti-Kosovo chanting.

Shaqiri had the last laugh with the opening goal as Switzerland, who came into the game knowing a draw would most likely be enough, advanced from Group G with a dramatic 3-2 win, alongside Brazil despite their surprise 1-0 defeat to Cameroon.

Switzerland nearly went ahead inside the first minute when Granit Xhaka's partially blocked shot fell beautifully for Breel Embolo but Serbia goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic made a smart block before parrying Xhaka's follow up.

Andrija Zivkovic struck the post from 20 yards in response for Serbia but Murat Yakin's men deservedly led after 20 minutes.

Djibril Sow recovered Ricardo Rodriguez's left-wing cross and nudged it into the path of Shaqiri, who fired home via a deflection off Strahinja Pavlovic before running off to celebrate by putting a finger to his lips in front of the s

Serbia responded superbly six minutes later when Dusan Tadic's left-wing cross was guided brilliantly past Gregor Kobel by Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Shaqiri arrowed wide when clean through, before Tadic impressed again to find Vlahovic, who turned smartly to fire past Kobel despite Remo Freuler almost taking the ball away from the Juventus striker.

It was Switzerland’s turn to dig deep and they did so admirably, Embolo turning in Silvan Widmer’s cross at the far post to make it the first time since England v Argentina in 1998 that both teams had scored at least twice in a World Cup game before half-time.

Switzerland completed the turnaround three minutes into the second half. Shaqiri chipped the ball in for Ruben Vargas, who flicked the ball beautifully on for Freuler to finish expertly.

Tempers frayed as Serbia sensed their time in Qatar was coming to an end - substitute goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic was booked for encroaching on to the pitch to confront the referee while a public address announcement asked for Serbian fans to stop making discriminatory chants and gestures.

There was one final flashpoint deep into stoppage time when Nikola Milenkovic and Xhaka clashed with several players looking to get involved. Both Milenkovic and Xhaka - another man with ethnic Albanian heritage linked to Kosovo - were booked.
 

What does it mean? Ronaldo and Portugal await

While Switzerland go on to a meeting with Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday, Serbia will head home.

On the balance of play it was the right outcome. Switzerland wobbled towards the end of the first half but, for the most part, played with a composure that Serbia lacked.

Shaqiri joins illustrious duo

Shaqiri may be the man the Serbian fans love to hate but he showed his endearing quality once more with Switzerland's opening goal.

It meant he became just one of three players to score at each of the last three World Cup tournaments. The other two? Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Evergreen Tadic shows his class

Tadic may be 34 but he remains Serbia's creative hub. He supplied the opener with a delicious cross from the left and was also instrumental in the second, although Freuler should have done better with his attempted clearance.

Whether he continues to play international football remains to be seen but he will leave a sizeable hole should he opt to stand down.

What's next?

Switzerland finish as runners-up to Brazil in Group G, and go on to face Portugal in four days' time.

Serbia go home having taken just one point from their three games, against Cameroon.

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