Swiss loss units up attractive rematch with Serbia at World Cup

Switzerland’s loss made its upcoming World Cup rematch all of the extra attractive, and with much more on the road.

Ever for the reason that match schedule was made in April, the Group G recreation between Switzerland and Serbia has been one to control. Not simply due to the gifted gamers on each groups, however due to the political tensions they introduced on the sphere once they met on the final World Cup.

4 years in the past in Russia, Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka celebrated his aim towards Serbia by making a double-headed eagle together with his fingers — thumbs representing the heads of the 2 eagles, fingers fanned to appear like feathers. The determine is taken into account to be an Albanian nationalist image.

Xherdan Shaqiri added one other aim within the closing minute of the sport, and did the identical factor together with his fingers because the Swiss received 2-1 within the second of the three group matches. Xhaka and Shaqiri each have ethnic Albanian heritage and household ties to Kosovo. They had been youngsters rising up in Switzerland when Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, one thing the Serbs nonetheless don’t acknowledge 14 years later. Each gamers had been fined by FIFA throughout the event, and the federal government of Albania opened a checking account for individuals to contribute towards paying the ten,000 Swiss franc ($10,500) penalties.

On Friday, solely one of many two groups will be capable of advance to the spherical of 16 in Qatar. Brazil, which beat the Swiss 1-0 on Monday and defeated Serbia 2-0 final Thursday, has already assured itself of a spot within the knockout spherical. The Swiss doubtless want solely a draw at Stadium 974, and Shaqiri ought to be out there to play after sitting out the match towards Brazil with a muscle damage.

Xhaka, now 30 and a mature chief for his nation, brushed apart the controversial match from 4 years in the past.

“(There’s) nothing within the historical past behind these two video games,” the Arsenal midfielder mentioned. “We’re Switzerland, they’re Serbia, that’s it. We’re right here to play soccer — them, us as nicely.” Nonetheless, the Serbian delegation at this 12 months’s World Cup has already made the politics of Kosovo a problem.

Serbia’s locker room forward of its opening recreation towards Brazil displayed a nationwide flag with territory that included Kosovo and the slogan

“No Give up.” FIFA opened a disciplinary case towards the Serbian soccer federation on Saturday.

The Kosovo soccer federation formally complained to FIFA after {a photograph} circulated and the nation’s sports activities minister, Hajrulla Ceku, described the picture as utilizing the World Cup to advertise “hateful, xenophobic and genocidal messages.” The Swiss superior to the spherical of 16 in 2018 after a draw with Costa Rica of their closing group match, whereas the Serbs had been eradicated after shedding to Brazil. This time, the groups go head-to-head of their closing group recreation.

“After all, the historical past is the historical past,” mentioned Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who additionally performed towards Serbia 4 years in the past in Kaliningrad. “However on this second it is going to be the sport that’s essential.

“We all know this recreation already,” Sommer added. “We had it in Russia.”

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