Xhaka and Shaqiri score for Swiss, make Albanian symbol

Jun 23, 2018, 01:33
Xhaka and Shaqiri score for Swiss, make Albanian symbol

The goal put Switzerland second in the group with a winnable match against Costa Rica left, while Serbia now must get a result against Group favorite Brazil.

The Serbs control their destiny after an opening 1-0 win against Costa Rica on Sunday, which came courtesy of a stunning Aleksandar Kolarov free-kick.

Boasting one of the oldest defences in the tournament, Serbia's rearguard and goalkeeper have collectively racked up almost 300 caps between them, as defensive tyro Nikola Milenkovic is the only player in the Serbian backline below the age of 30.

Shaqiri scored a last-gasp victor against Serbia.

Dusko Tosic and the aforementioned Milenkovic individually bring youth and experience to their centre-back partnership, as Tosic turned 33 not long ago, meaning 13-years separate the two defenders, while Vladimir Stojkovic between the sticks is, incredibly, one of three 34-year-olds in the squad.

"I hope that people will take notice of us and take us seriously".

Head coach Vladimir Petkovic could name the same side that drew 1-1 with Brazil, with Haris Seferovic continuing as a lone forward.

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.

Head coach Mladen Krstajic is not expected to make major changes but he could hand winger Filip Kostic a start.

Former coach Slavoljub Muslin, who led the team to qualification for Russian Federation, reportedly paid with his job for failing to select Milinkovic-Savic.

"I guarantee you my players will take responsibility, be aggressive and on top of the other team", Krstajic said Thursday.

Such displays have angered some Serbian fans, who often wear T-shirts bearing the map of Kosovo with the Serbian flag on it.

Tensions have been building in Serbia before the Group E match Friday in Kaliningrad.

The side feature the likes of Xerdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka in midfield which can trouble Serbian defensive guards.

Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008.

Neither coach would be drawn on the issue Thursday, with Krstajic saying he is "not interested in politics".