Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka face two-match bans for goal celebrations

25 Juin, 2018, 20:21 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Aleksandar Mitrovic of Serbia looks dejected following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group E match between Serbia and Switzerland at Kaliningrad Stadium

"The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Swiss players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri for their goal celebration during the match Switzerland vs. Serbia", the governing body said in a statement.

But the new generation is being led by the likes of Isco and Diego Costa, who have sparkled in attack and are arguably the most important players to the current Spanish side - certainly in ensuring their pretty approach play is accompanied by the necessary incisiveness in front of goal.

Xhaka, whose brother plays for Albania, ran to the touchline and locked his thumbs together with fingers outstretched to make what looks like the double-headed eagle on Albania's flag.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, less than a decade after the 1998-99 war between ethnic Albanian guerillas and Serb forces, but Belgrade - backed by its traditional ally Russian Federation - still refuses to recognise the move.

"In football you have always emotions and you can see what I did and it is just emotion", said the player, who sported the blue, white and yellow Kosovo flag on the heel of his left boot for the match and the Swiss flag on the heel of his right boot.

Shaqiri, who was booed heavily by Serbian fans throughout the match, said afterward that his gesture was "emotional", rather than political.

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Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic ripped Shaqiri, saying, "If he loves Kosovo so much and decides to flaunt the flag, why did he refuse a chance to play for their team?" Each had scored in Switzerland's 2-1 victory over Serbia, whose crackdown on the Albanian population was ended by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation intervention in 1999. "I don't think people in Switzerland have a problem when they celebrate like that, because we know they are dual citizens", he said.

On the field, Switzerland has never lost in a World Cup to an opponent from CONCACAF, the region that covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Head coach Mladen Krstajic is also being investigated for statements he made in the aftermath of the game. Switzerland defeated Honduras in 2014 in Brazil to advance from the group stage.

Serbia now has 3 points from two games, and will have to beat Brazil in Moscow on June 27 to progress to the knock-out phase of the competition. "And I think the main thing is that we were not able to finish our opportunities".

Spain will seek to secure their passage into the last 16 with their final group game against eliminated Morocco on Monday night, with La Roja knowing a draw in Kaliningrad would be enough to send them through.

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