Switzerland edged Cameroon 1-0 thanks to a goal against Cameroon’s Breel Embolo game on Thursday for an opening victory in World Cup Group G.
Embolo, born in Yaoundé but raised in Basel, scored three minutes into the second half after receiving a ball from Xherdan Shaqiri.
The 25-year-old forward refused to celebrate his goal as the small group of Swiss fans cheered enthusiastically at the Al Janoub stadium.
Serbia plays Brazil in the other group game later on Thursday.
Switzerland’s goal came after Cameroon, without a World Cup win 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, had outplayed the Swiss in the first 45 minutes with quick combinations, speed and physicality as their opponents remained toothless up front.
They created their first chance on 10 minutes with Bryan Mbeumo testing goalkeeper Yann Sommer, but Karl Toko Ekambi sent the rebound over the bar.
The Swiss were in trouble again a little later when Cameroonian striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, in top form, wrested the ball from an opponent to charge into the box but was cleared by Sommer.
Cameroon continued to play their opponents in one-on-one situations, while the Swiss rarely managed to get into their opponents’ box.
Switzerland, who reached the round of 16 in the previous two World Cups, struck early in the second half with a Shaqiri cut into the box and a touch from Embolo in what turned out to be the winner.
Nearly identical play just after the hour mark almost saw the Swiss score again, but Ruben Vargas’ shot was deflected by goalkeeper Andre Onana.