Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri combined to give Switzerland a much deserved three points against resolute Serbia side but there have been a lot of talking point about the goal celebration of both players.
The Eagle sign gesture which was seen shown by each player during the goal celebration is a nationalist symbol representing the double-headed eagle on Albania’s national flag and it could inflame tensions among Serbian nationalists and ethnic Albanians.
Serbia has hit out at a “provocative” double eagle celebration by two ethnic Albanian goalscorers in the World Cup but was on the other hand applauded by Albanian Leaders.
A pro-government Serbian newspaper said they had “humiliated” Switzerland. The celebration has brought political tensions in the Balkans on to the World Cup stage.
BBC Monitoring reports that in Serbia, pro-government newspaper Informer used a derogatory term for Albanians, saying “the Albanian clan within ‘clockmakers’ team was sending poisoned arrows weeks before, so the match couldn’t pass without a provocation”.
Some Swiss papers also called the gesture a provocation betraying a lack of political sensitivity. Both players had earlier been booed by Serbian fans during the match. Shaqiri later sought to downplay his celebration, saying: “It’s just emotion. I’m very happy to score this goal.
It’s not more. I think we don’t have to speak about this now.” Xhaka and Shaqiri’s families are from Kosovo, where a Serbian crackdown on the Albanian population only ended with Nato military intervention in 1999.