Swiss coach unimpressed with celebrations in win over Serbia

Romelu Lukaku

Hoping to turn the game on its head, Switzerland made a change at the start of the second half as Mario Gavranovic made his first World Cup appearance.

The result puts the Swiss, who are guaranteed to advance with a win in their final game, level on points (four) with first-place Brazil in the group, while Serbia slump to third after winning their opening match against Costa Rica.

Serbia's players did not react to the eagle gestures at Kaliningrad Stadium.

With Mitrovic proving a handful for the Swiss defence, Serbia threatened to over-run their opponents and missed another chance when a corner flew across the face of goal and Dusko Tosic just failed to make contact. After nearly putting his side ahead with a curling strike that clipped the woodwork, the Swiss livewire scored the goal his performance deserved in the final minute of normal time. But hurt pride was not a factor.

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Serbia refuses to recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo which broke away 10 years ago.

Shaqiri, meanwhile, was also born in Kosovo and had their flag printed on his right boot for the game against Switzerland. I spoke to the father of one of our players who is Albanian, and he told me about this history. Not between Swiss and Serbian fans, but between Albanian and Serbian supporters.

The "double-headed eagle" celebration, adopted by Xhaka after his thunderous equaliser and Shaqiri following his decider - a double-headed eagle graces Albania's national flag - ensured that nobody could overlook the game's complex political dimension.

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

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Ahead of the grudge match, Serbian media had reported that FIFA had asked the Swiss federation to ban Kosova or "Greater Albania" flags, but the Swiss denied the story as baseless.

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.

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

Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami is receiving treatment for a muscle problem but is still likely to play.

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Serbia had chances to score more before halftime. Switzerland have participated in the last three World Cups and European Championship - 27 points in the qualification is remarkable!

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