Shaqiri and Xhaka's pro-Kosovo goal celebrations criticised

NemanjaMatic-cropped

NemanjaMatic-cropped

Switzerland's 2-1 World Cup win over Serbia was given a mixed reaction by Swiss media who applauded their rousing second-half comeback but criticised celebrations by scorers Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri which appeared to have political overtones.

The players are both ethnic Albanian and celebrated their strikes in the match against Serbia by making the controversial sign in apparent reference to the eagle symbol on the Albanian flag.

Football's world governing body Fifa is investigating whether they broke rules on political and offensive messages.

Xhaka and Shaqiri are both ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, which broke away from Serbia in war in 1999 and declared independence nearly a decade later but is not recognised by Serbia.

Winger Shaqiri was born in Kosovo and midfielder Xhaka was born to Albanian parents who were originally from Serbia.

Xhaka, whose father spent more than three years as a political prisoner in Kosovo before moving to Switzerland, made the gesture after scoring to level the match.

It has recently been revealed by BBC Sports reporter Richard Conway that Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner is also being charged by Federation Internationale de Football Association for his part in the celebrations.

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Brazil and Switzerland both have 4 points, with the latter playing against Costa Rica, who have collected no points thus far. Serbia doesn't recognize Kosovo's independence and relations between the two countries remain tense.

Croatia's FA was fined 13,000 Swiss francs after its fans were involved in fights and throwing of objects during the same game.

It will be argued that the behaviour illustrates the Albanian nationalist-supported notion of a Greater Albania, which makes territorial claims on parts of Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia and Greece.

When asked about his celebration Shaqiri said, 'It's just emotion.

Serbia manager Mladen Krstajic is under investigation for suggesting that referee Felix Brych should be put on trial in The Hague, the Dutch city where tribunals are held for war crimes.

"I think about this, I don't want to speak", said Shaqiri.

The build-up to the match had seen exchanges between Serbian players and Shaqiri, who wears boots with the Kosovo flag displayed on one heel and the Swiss one on the other.

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