Switzerland playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri proved Serbia’s nemesis once more by helping knock Dragan Stojkovic’s men out of the World Cup on a tumultuous night at Stadium 974.
Shaqiri netted a last-minute winner against Serbia at the 2018 Russia tournament and celebrated by making an eagle with his arms to show his support for Kosovo, the country of his birth and a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. This independence Serbia does not recognize
The Chicago Fire man was booed and jeered, while at least one Serbian fan was ejected for chanting anti-Kosovo.
Shaqiri had the last laugh with the opening goal as Switzerland, who went into the game knowing a draw would most likely be enough, progressed from Group G with a dramatic 3-2 win, along with Brazil despite their surprise 1-0 defeat to Cameroon.
Switzerland almost went ahead in the first minute when Granit Xhaka’s partially blocked shot fell beautifully onto Breel Embolo, but Serbian goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic made a smart block before keeping out Xhaka’s drive.
Andrija Zivkovic hit the post from 20 meters in Serbia’s reply, but Murat Yakin’s men deservedly took the lead after 20 minutes.
Djibril Sow recovered Ricardo Rodriguez’s cross from the left wing and nudged it into the path of Shaqiri, who fired home a rebound from Strahinja Pavlovic before running off to celebrate by putting his finger to his lips in front of s.
Serbia responded superbly six minutes later when Dušan Tadic’s cross from the left wing was superbly headed past Gregor Kobe by Aleksandar Mitrovič.
Shaqiri fired over after a clean drive before Tadic impressed again as he found Vlahovic who turned smartly and fired past Kobel, despite Remo Freuler almost taking the ball away from the Juventus striker.
It was Switzerland’s turn to dig deep and they did so admirably, Embolo converting Silvano Widmer at the far post to make it the first time since England v Argentina in 1998 that both teams had scored at least twice in a World Cup match before half-time. -time.
Switzerland completed the turnaround three minutes into the second half. Shaqiri kicked the ball for Ruben Vargas, who flicked the ball beautifully for Freuler to finish expertly.
Tempers fluttered as Serbia sensed its time in Qatar was coming to an end – substitute goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic was penalized for entering the pitch and confronting the referee, while in a public address Serbian fans were urged to stop discriminatory chants and gestures.
There was one final flare-up deep into the break when Nikola Milenkovic and Xhaka clashed with several players looking to get involved. Both Milenkovic and Xhaka – another man with ethnic Albanian heritage linked to Kosovo – were booked.