Switzerland's late victor over Serbia throws World Cup's Group E wide open

Lynette Rowe
June 23, 2018

Serbia does not recognize Kosovo's independence and relations between the two countries remain tense.

Midfielder Valon Behrami grew up in what is now Kosovo, moving to Switzerland with his family in 1990 amid rising tensions between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. "In football, you have always emotions. I did it, and we don't have to speak about this".

After holding off Brazil in their opening contest, Switzerland will be eager to pick up their first win at the expense of Serbia.

The coaches of Serbia and Switzerland only want to talk about football, not about an entrenched political dispute casting a shadow over their teams' World Cup showdown in Russian Federation.

An incredibly tight finale sees Serbia take on Brazil in Moscow on Wednesday, while Switzerland play a Costa Rica team that already have no hope of making the knockout stages.

Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008.

"I'm not into politics", Serbia's coach, Mladen Krstajic, told reporters before the game.

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After scoring the dramatic victor, Shaqiri wheeled away to the Serbian fans and crossed his hands over his chest to represent the Albanian Eagle. Sprinting clear of the Serbian defence as injury time approached, Shaqiri planted the ball beneath the advancing Stojkovic to move his side into second place in the pool.

Shaqiri clipped the post with a shot as Switzerland pushed on for a victor, but it was Serbia who felt hard done by shortly afterwards when Alexsandar Mitrovic was given the Harry Kane treatment, held down by both Fabian Schar and Stephan Lichtsteiner in the box only for the referee to wave away his claims for a penalty.

When is FIFA World Cup 2018 Serbia vs Switzerland match? The Serbia forward amassed four shots against Costa Rica without scoring, having netted five goals in as many worldwide appearances in 2018.

Lazio's highly rated Sergej Milinkovic-Savic fizzed a right-footed shot narrowly wide of Sommer's right post on 15 minutes, and Mitrovic nearly scored with a spectacular bicycle kick that went the same way minutes later.

Mitrovic was a handful for Switzerland with his strong physical presence close to the goal.

Switzerland 2-1 Serbia, Shaqiri bags a late victor as Serbia concede one goal lead to suffer a 2-1 defeat.

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