Xherdan Shaqiri was fittingly pivotal to Switzerland's win over Serbia ©Getty Images

The final day of group stage matches at the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup finished on a dramatic note, with Switzerland overcoming Serbia to qualify for the round of 16 in a match that saw both teams take the lead.

Two ties were anticipated to be heated, with one living up to the pre-match excitement.

Serbia and Switzerland met in Group G, with the talking point prior being the tensions between Serbians and the Swiss players of Kosovar Albanian descent, Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka.

It was a rematch of their heated meeting four years ago at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which saw Switzerland come from behind to win 2-1.

Xhaka and Shaqiri scored in that game, celebrating with an eagle gesture, a symbol of ethnic Albanians.

Due to the continued geopolitical disputes between ethnics Serbs and ethnic Albanians, this was met with fury from the travelling Serbians and led to the two players receiving fines of CHF 10,000 (£8,700/$10,700/€10,100).

It was regarded as a moment of solidarity for Kosovo - which claims sovereign independence from Serbia who still see the territory as part of its country.

A Swiss win this time around would secure a spot in the knockout rounds, while Serbia would likely secure a berth if they took the three points.

As if written by a novelist, Shaqiri got the opening goal after 20 minutes at the Stadium 974 in Doha, striking past goalkeeper Vanja Milinković-Savić.

Granit Xhaka, left, and Nikola Milenković, right, clashing before their shoving match ©Getty Images
Granit Xhaka, left, and Nikola Milenković, right, clashing before their shoving match ©Getty Images

Instead of anything related to the eagle, Shaqiri chose to point at his name when celebrating, perhaps a nod to his Kosovan name.

But the half was far from finished, with Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrović getting on the end of a pinpoint looping cross from Filip Kostić, nodding it with precision into the net.

Dušan Vlahović gave Serbia the lead after 35 minutes, acting quickly on a pass-back error from Remo Freuler, before Swiss striker Breel Embolo tied it up again from a dangerous cross-box ball just before half-time.

Shortly after the break, Freuler made amends for his earlier mistake to perfectly hit home what would be the winning goal after great build-up from Switzerland, with the match ending 3-2.

Although no more goals came in the match, Xhaka and Serbian centre-back Nikola Milenković clashed in injury time in the match, causing both sides to get involved in the altercation and bookings to be handed out.

In the other Group G match, Cameroon defeated Brazil 1-0 at the Lusail Iconic Stadium thanks to a 92nd-minute winner from Vincent Aboubakar, who was then sent off for a second yellow for taking his top off - receiving a smile and a handshake from the referee.

Clashes came at the end of the match between Switzerland and Serbia ©Getty Images
Clashes came at the end of the match between Switzerland and Serbia ©Getty Images

Group H had another salivating showdown - this time between Uruguay and Ghana at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah.

Unlikely rivals, the sides were looking to qualify alongside Portugal in what was a rematch of the 2010 World Cup quarter-final.

In that match, Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez infamously cleared the ball off the line in the dying moments of the match with his hand, receiving an instant red card and giving away a penalty to Ghana to win the match, which Asamoah Gyan struck off the bar.

In cruel fashion, Ghana lost on penalties, failing to become the first African semi-finalist ever.

Suarez returned to a sea of boos from the Ghanaian fans - and he was involved in the opening goal of the game - forcing Lawrence Ati-Zigi to parry the ball into the path of Giorgio de Arrascaeta.

It came after Ghana failed to take the lead, again fittingly, from a penalty. 

Mohammed Kudus was brought down by Sergio Rochet, but the goalkeeper redeemed himself by saving Andre Ayew's effort.

In his first start of the tournament, De Arrascaeta got a second from a Suarez lob assist, catching it beautifully on the volley to condemn their opponents to a 2-0 deficit.

Darwin Núñez was furious to not receive a penalty for a tackle from Alidu Seidu, who was deemed to get the ball - but the South Americans looked set to go through.

South Korea defied expectations with a victory over Portugal ©Getty Images
South Korea defied expectations with a victory over Portugal ©Getty Images

However, South Korea were able to come from a goal down to defeat Portugal 2-1 in the last minutes of the match at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan.

After just five minutes, Diogo Dalot executed a cutback to Ricardo Horta, who hit the back of the net with his strike to give the favourites the lead.

An error from Cristiano Ronaldo - who attempted to crouch out of the way from a corner that instead hit him on the back - allowed Kim Young-gwon to slice it home for the equaliser inside 27 minutes.

The underdogs looked to be heading home with Portugal having a corner going into injury time, but the South Koreans got on the counter-attack and talisman Son Heung-min charged up the field, eventually slotting a pass through to Hwang Hee-chan to get the winner against the odds.

With Uruguay unable to score a third goal - which would have put them ahead of South Korea on goal difference - Son and his teammates emotionally celebrated their qualification.

Uruguay ended their 2-0 victory by badgering the referee, querying his decision not to give a penalty earlier in the match.