Shaqiri snatches last-gasp 2-1 win for Swiss over Serbia
Shaqiri snatches last-gasp 2-1 win for Swiss over Serbia
Serbia v Switzerland
23 June, 2018, 04:30
The new Arsenal signing also had praise for former Premier League players Xherdan Shaqiri and Aleksandar Kolarov, praising his global team-mate for his impact against Serbia where he scored the late goal to seal the win.
Xhaka was born to Kosovan-Albanian parents and his father Ragip spent three-and-a-half years in prison for demonstrating against the Communist Yogoslavia rule in Kosovo.
After holding off Brazil in their opening contest, Switzerland will be eager to pick up their first win at the expense of Serbia.
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.
The result left Brazil, 2-0 winners over Costa Rica, top with four points, ahead of Switzerland on goal difference with Serbia on three. His brother plays for Albania's national team.
The Swiss looked in danger of being over-run when Serbia went ahead with an Aleksandar Mitrovic header after five minutes to the delight of their fervent supporters at the Kaliningrad stadium.
Aleksandar Mitrovic scored for Serbia with a header in the fifth minute.
"You should never mix politics and football, it's good to be a fan and important to show respect", he told reporters after the game. A neatly placed pass found Seferovic on the move and one-on-one lead to a great save from Serbia shot stopper Vladimir Stojkovic, one of the few moments in the first half where the Serbian defence appeared to switch off.
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.
- This will be the first meeting between Serbia (as an independent nation) and Switzerland.
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. We've seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play.
Matic said during the build-up the team were expecting a "hellish" encounter with the Swiss, who in their game with Brazil fouled star forward Neymar 10 times alone.
Shaqiri scored a late game-winner and Swiss fans lost their minds.
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