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Shaqiri stuns Serbia to give Swiss hope

23 June, 2018, 01:32 | Author: Carla Brady
  • Kieran Trippier

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

The side feature the likes of Xerdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka in midfield which can trouble Serbian defensive guards. Blerim Dzemaili had their best chance half an hour in, forcing Serbia keeper Vladimir Stojkovic to push the ball clear.

After holding off Brazil in their opening contest, Switzerland will be eager to pick up their first win at the expense of Serbia.

Kosovo, a former Serbian province, declared its independence in 2008. "We also have to outrun our opponents and I believe also that we have to play our own football".

Midfielder Valon Behrami grew up in what is now Kosovo, moving to Switzerland with his family in 1990 amid rising tensions between ethnic Albanians and Serbs.




"I guarantee you my players will take responsibility, be aggressive and on top of the other team", Krstajic said Thursday. "It's a wonderful atmosphere and a positive experience and that's what football should be about". "I am a man of sports, and this is what I'm going to stay being".

And Shaqiri would secure the points on the stroke of 90 minutes when he broke behind the defence and rolled his shot past a charging Stojkovic to make Switzerland the first team to score a come-from-behind victory in Russian Federation.

Aleksandar Mitrovic had given Serbia a dream start when he rose and headed a floating Dusan Tadic cross firmly past Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer five minutes into the game. The Swiss will advance to the round of 16 if they beat Costa Rica on Wednesday in Nizhny Novgorod.

Ivanovic, Serbia's most experienced player, charged at the ball just before Xhaka blasted it into the back of the net and was in great position to make a block - but he dove to the ground at the last second. Serbia, too often less than the sum of their parts, gradually prevailed over Costa Rica because of Aleksandar Kolarov's sumptuous free-kick and the eye-catching attacking thrusts of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The Swiss decision to put two defenders on him paid off in the second half, though Serbia had a strong appeal for a penalty when two defenders appeared to wrestle Mitrovic to the ground as he tried to head a cross.

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