Shaqiri & Xhaka celebrations spark scandal as politics overshadows Swiss win against Serbia
23 June, 2018, 05:30 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
A seemingly innocuous goal celebration performed by both Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri has thinly veiled, politically charged undertones and could potentially land the pair in Federation Internationale de Football Association disciplinary proceedings following Switzerland's 2-1 win over Serbia.
However not everyone was enjoying the political gesture, as Serbian fans booed in the stadium, other football fans shared their disgust at the gestures on Twitter. Xhaka's parents are originally from Kosovo and they are of Albanian heritage.
After holding off Brazil in their opening contest, Switzerland will be eager to pick up their first win at the expense of Serbia.
The Kosovo War that ended in 1999 remains a contentious territory in both Serbia and Albania with the region now residing within Serbia, but having it's own Fifa-recognised team.
"In football you have always emotions and you can see what I did and it's just emotion", he said in reference to his controversial celebration. Then Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, who was born in Kosovo, scored the winning goal in the 90th minute of the game on a breakaway pass that led him charging down the field. You can see what I did, I have emotions.
A reporter asked Petkovic how he would discuss the issue with his players, and the coach sidestepped the question. "I did it, and we don't have to speak about this".
With their group destiny in their hands, Switzerland will wrap up group play against already-eliminated Costa Rica in Nizhny Novgorod on Wednesday, while Serbia will face Brazil in Moscow that same day.
It was a game of two halves as Switzerland came out as a completely different team at half time to claw back a one goal deficit to get the win in a thriller of a game. I think we all together need to steer away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a attractive game and something that brings people together.
A draw for Serbia would have put them in the ascendancy going into that crucial crunch clash with the South Americans, but the Europeans will now be resting their hopes of qualification on, not only a Costa Rican masterclass, but also a masterclass of their own against the most decorated nation in the competition's history.
Switzerland wasted little time in finding their equaliser after the break with Granit Xhaka pouncing on a blocked Shaqiri shot and firing an unstoppable blast from outside the box past a helpless Stojkovic on 52 minutes. Switzerland were terrific against Brazil and deserved their point - what they lack up front they more than make up for in the unyielding qualities of their midfield.
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