Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0 on Thursday thanks to a goal from Cameroon-born Briel Embolo’s late game for an opening win in World Cup Group G.
Embolo, born in Yaounde but raised in Basel, struck three minutes into the second half after receiving the ball from Xherdan Shaqiri’s cutback.
The 25-year-old forward refused to celebrate his goal as a small group of Swiss fans cheered wildly at the Al Janoub Stadium.
Serbia will play Brazil in the second group match on Thursday.
The Swiss goal came after Cameroon, without a World Cup victory for 20 years, dominated the first half but missed several good chances to take the lead.
The indomitable Lions, who eliminated Algeria in a playoff to qualify for the tournament, overwhelmed the Swiss with quick combinations, pace and physicality in the first 45 minutes as their opponents were toothless.
He created his first chance after 10 minutes with Brian Mbumo testing goalkeeper Yann Sommer, but Carl Toko Ekambi sent the rebound over the bar.
Shortly afterwards Switzerland were in trouble again, with in-form Cameroonian forward Eric Maxime Choupo-Moting snatching the ball from an opponent to charge into the box only for Sommer to clear.
Cameroon continued to take on its opponents in one-on-one situations, while the Swiss rarely managed to penetrate their opponents’ box.
Switzerland, which had reached the round of 16 at the last two World Cups, cut Shaqiri into the box early in the second half and tapped in what proved to be the winner.
A similar move just past the hour almost saw the Swiss score again but Rubén Vargas’ shot was pulled wide by keeper Andre Onana.