Shaqiri & Xhaka celebrations spark scandal as politics overshadows Swiss win against Serbia

Harry Kane England Tunisia

Both Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri celebrated their goals for Switzerland against Serbia on Friday by making a nationalist symbol of Albania in a gesture likely to inflame tensions among Serb nationalists and ethnic Albanians.

After scoring the dramatic victor, Shaqiri wheeled away to the Serbian fans and crossed his hands over his chest to represent the Albanian Eagle.

Xhaka was born to Kosovo-Albanian parents who were forced to flee the fall of Yugoslavia in 1990.

"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.

Kosovo gained independence from Serbia in 2008, however, Serbia still reject this.

"I think in football you have always emotions", he said. You can see what I did, and it's just emotion, and I'm just happy to have scored the goal.

"You should never mix politics and football", Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said. "I did it, and we don't have to speak about this".

All eyes will be on Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic again after his dazzling display but it could be Aleksandar Mitrovic's time to shine.

Xhaka silenced the Serbian contingent in the 52nd minute, however, when he rifled home a loose ball in spectacular style from 25 meters before Shaqiri ran onto a through ball and finished with aplomb to win the game at the death.

Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic was equally reluctant to be drawn into the debate. It's a wonderful atmosphere and positive emotions and that's what football should be about.

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.

But it is not just the Swiss hatchet man's tackling ability that makes him such an invaluable player to this Swiss side, he also brings an air of composure to the midfield and compliments this with his brilliant passing ability, as he only misplaced three passes against Brazil.

Shaqiri then struck in the 90th minute to secure victory for the Swiss, who are second in Group E behind Brazil on four points with one game remaining.

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.

Serbia had chances to score more before halftime.

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