What was the hand gesture made by the Swiss goal scorers?

26 June, 2018, 03:52 | Author: Anita Tucker
  • Shaqiri at the death: Five things we learned from Serbia 1-2 Switzerland

They were rewarded in the 51st minute when Xherden Shaqiri's attempt was blocked and the ball rebounded to Arsenal's Granit Xhaka, who rasped his shot home from outside the box to tie the contest at 1-1.

As he wheeled away in celebration, the Kosovo-born playmaker crossed his hands to imitate an eagle, which appears on Albania's flag, prompting reporters to ask whether the gesture was a statement in light of Serbia's failure to recognise his birthplace as an independent state.

When Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic was questioned about the gestures, he said: "I can only repeat what I already said yesterday - you should never mix politics and football". "We are wondering why Serbia is the only team at the World Cup with the referee who would not even check the replay of the disputable situations, and all to the detriment of our team".

Having trailed to an Aleksandar Mitrovic goal at half-time, Switzerland were much improved after the break and deservedly pulled off a turnaround victory thanks to a Granit Xhaka wonder goal and Shaqiri's coolly taken late strike. Stoke City's Xherdan Shaqiri later scored a stoppage time victor to send the Swiss second in Group E, behind Brazil.

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Kosovo, an ethnically Albanian province, fought a war of independence against the Serb-dominated Yugoslav forces in the late 1990s. Replying to the criticism about the celebration, Xhaka said that it was for the people, his supporter, his homeland, and for his parent's root, and claimed that the celebration was purely emotional.

Made Albanians proud. Both refugees because of Serbia but they kept their faith and traditions! You can see what I did, and it's just emotion, and I'm just happy to have scored the goal.

Federation Internationale de Football Association said Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner also faces disciplinary proceedings for also making the gesture during the match. In the decisive third game, Serbia and Brazil will play in Moscow at the same time that Costa Rica and Switzerland meet in Nizhny Novgorod.

The Swiss will progress if they draw with Costa Rica in their final Group E match while Serbia now need something against Brazil.

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"This is football, we did not convert some of our chances", Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic said. "For me it's too political, they should concentrate on sports".

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.

Shaqiri had been booed relentlessly by Serbia fans throughout a high-quality match, but the Stoke City forward had the last laugh with his last ditch victor.

The political back-and-forth has since been addressed by Switzerland head coach Vladimir Petkovic.

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