Published: Sat, June 23, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Shaqiri stuns Serbia to give Swiss hope

Shaqiri stuns Serbia to give Swiss hope

A dream start ensued for Serbia when Aleksandar Mitrovic headed home a cross from Dusan Tadic in the fifth minute.

Xhaka curled the ball through traffic to tie the game at 1-1, and Ivanovic suddenly became a very unpopular man on social media.

Shaqiri had been booed relentlessly by Serbia fans during the high-quality match, but had the last laugh with his last ditch victor.

Serbia missed the chance to book their spot in the knockout round of the 2018 World Cup with a match to spare as they lost 2-1 to Switzerland in Group E on Friday night.

Both Xhaka and Shaqiri performed matching celebrations following their goals, interlocking their fingers in a gesture celebrating Albania.

Serbia will be facing Switzerland aiming to book their place in the round after beating Costa Rica in the opening game. You can see what I did, and it's just emotion, and I'm just happy to have scored the goal. Serbia doesn't recognize Kosovo's independence and relations between the two countries remain tense.

The flag of Albania is seen during the traditional dance performing of the members of the ethnic Albanian minority in Macedonia with traditional dresses, as they celebrate the National Albanian Flag Day and the anniversary of Albania's Independence, in Skopje, Macedonia on November 28, 2017.

The coach Krstajic is referring to is Vladimir Petkovic, who is hopeful star Valon Behrami is fit to play amid concerns over a thigh problem.

Such displays have angered some Serbian fans, who often wear T-shirts bearing the map of Kosovo with the Serbian flag on it. "You should always show respect", Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said. It's a wonderful atmosphere and positive emotions and that's what football should be about. "It's not more. I think we don't have to speak about this now".

Unlike Croatia, who had erected a "cage" for Lionel Messi on the inside-right area of midfield, Serbia's central players had to deal with a much more varied threat. I think we all together need to steer away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a lovely game and something that brings people together.

The win puts Switzerland in pole position to make it out of a tough Group E that contains five-times winners Brazil but they were pushed all the way by the Serbs.

Serbia could have gone in two goals to the good at the break but Matic missed a glorious chance when Tadic's in-swinging corner found him unmarked at the back post but he couldn't sort his feet out.

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