Switzerland stuns Serbia with game winning goal in the 90th minute

Marcus Newton
June 23, 2018

Switzerland were largely ineffective in the first half, but they came out after the restart with more intent, and Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka levelled proceedings with a bullet strike right out of the top drawer, while a late victor from Xherdan Shaqiri secured a vital 2-1 result for the Swiss.

The Arsenal star scored Switzerland's first goal with a thumping long-range effort before celebrating vigorously with a "double eagle" gesture - the symbol of Albania.

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 was born to Kosovan-Albanian parents and has a brother, Taulant, who represents the national team.

"Sometimes there's a lack of recognition and that's a pity because we played very well", grumbled Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic in the aftermath of that game.

That is because several players in the Swiss squad have Kosovo Albanian roots, including midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri who was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. "You can see what I did and I think it's just emotion".

Switzerland's coach, Vladimir Petkovic, said: "You should never mix politics and football". "You should always show respect".

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Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami is receiving treatment for a muscle problem but is still likely to play.

Serbia almost had their second just before the half but Dusko Tosic's diving header from point-blank range skidded off his head to Nemanja Matic who couldn't react fast enough to finish the chance.

"From day one when we saw the group draw many thought that Brazil was the favourite", said Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic. "I am a man of sports, and this is what I'm going to stay being". "It's a wonderful atmosphere and a positive experience and that's what football should be about".

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.

The result left Brazil, 2-0 winners over Costa Rica, top with four points, ahead of Switzerland on goal difference with Serbia on three.

Knowing that victory over Switzerland would have taken them into the last 16, Serbia made a fast start to the match.

Ivanovic, Serbia's most experienced player, charged at the ball just before Xhaka blasted it into the back of the net and was in great position to make a block - but he dove to the ground at the last second.

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