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Swiss coach unimpressed with celebrations in win over Serbia

23 June, 2018, 04:28 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Romelu Lukaku

Switzerland fouled Neymar 10 times during Sunday's 1-1 stalemate - the most inflicted on a single player in a World Cup game since 1998 - and Petkovic said his side would not hold back against the Serbs.

Switzerland saw off any late threat from Serbia to run out 2-1 winners and move up to second spot in Group D.

Switzerland worked their best chance of the half on 30 minutes - Blerim Dzemaili darting onto Steven Zuber's cross but wasn't able to make enough contact to beat Vladimir Stojkovic with a leaping toe poke while under pressure.

Serbia boast a host of current and former Premier League talent, including Matic, Kolarov and Newcastle forward Aleksandar Mitrovic. The team didn't panic when Brazil had scored the goal and taken the lead. But hurt pride was not a factor.

Kosovo gained independence from Serbia in 2008, however, Serbia still reject this. Shaqiri was born in Kosovo to Kosovar Albanian parents. His brother plays for Albania's national team.

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During the game Shaqiri wore athletic shoes that depicted the Kosovo flag of Kosovo on the back of one heel and the Swiss flag on the other.

Xhaka struck the Swiss equalizer in the 52nd minute before Shaqiri scored a late victor when he broke free from the half-way line to slot past Serbian goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic. "They're trying to provoke us but we won't get dragged down to their level".

Both Shaqiri and Xhaka pointedly celebrated their goals by making an eagle gesture with their hands, viewed as a symbol of defiance.

He has the flags of Switzerland and Kosovo tattooed on his left arm.

And Serbia head coach Mladen Krstajic is braced for a hard encounter, telling Swiss newspaper Blick: "They are very strong!"

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For 47 minutes, Serbia had one foot in the last 16, playing a muscular yet intelligent football that was immediately reminiscent of Croatia's 3-0 win over Argentina the night before.

But the similarities between the two Balkan nations fell by the wayside, along with Serbia's tactical cohesion, when Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic brought on fresh legs to stretch the game.

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.

Sharp, fast, tireless and elusive, *Xherdan Shaqiri *proved more than a handful for the Serbia defence. Switzerland's greater energy, combined with Serbia's inability to keep their shape in the latter stages, won the day.

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