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Switzerland had to fight tooth-and-nail with Serbia before pulling off a 2-1 victory on Friday’s World Cup match in Russia.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka all found the back of the net for the Swiss team who moved into the second place in Group E with four points after the victory. Meanwhile, Serbia is in a close third with three points.
Controversial Celebration By Switzerland
Heading into the match, the Serbians needed just a single victory to move on into the round of 16. The Serbians controlled the pace early as Aleksandar Mitrovic immediately found the target in the fifth minute off an exquisite pass from Dusan Tadic to give his country a 1-0 lead.
It seemed like that the single goal Mitrovic made was more than enough for Serbia to move into the next round. However, the Swiss showed some fighting resistance as Xhaka leveled things at 1-1in the 52nd minute from the edge of the box.
Interestingly, Xhaka, who has an Albanian Kosovo root, immediately made the double eagle sign after making the goal. The double eagle symbol is a sign of defiance which is also featured in Kosovo’s flag. It’s worth noting that Kosovo is a former province of Serbia.
Shaqiri completed the comeback with a 90th-minute goal to seal the victory for the Swiss. Prior to this year’s World Cup, the Stoke City booter has been nothing short of phenomenal for Switzerland as he scored a hat-trick against Honduras in the 2014 World Cup while uncorking a breathtaking overhead kick against Poland in the 2016 UEFA European Championship.
Just like Xhaka, Shaqiri made the double eagle sign after scoring the game-winning goal. Shaqiri was born in Kosovo before moving to Switzerland in 1992 together with his parents and siblings. In spite of the victory, Swiss head coach Vladimir Petkovic voiced out his frustrations over his players, citing that politics should not be associated with football.
“It’s clear that emotions surface. I think on and off the pitch we need to steer away from politics in football and we should focus on this as a sport that brings people together,” Petkovic said.
The Swiss hope to seal their spot in the Round of 16 on the next game. Switzerland will go against Costa Rica on Wednesday, June 27. Switzerland will just need to finish with a draw against to move on. On the other hand, Serbia will take on tournament favorites, Brazil.
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