Serbia head coach Mladen Krstajic arrives for the official training session of the Serbian team one the eve of the group E match between Switzerland and Serbia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at Kaliningrad stadium in Kaliningrad, Russia, Thursday, June 21, 2018.
Serbia must beat Brazil in their final game to qualify without relying on the result of the Swiss game against Costa Rica, who are eliminated after losing their first two games. Serbia, on the other hand, will be looking to continue their winning run to qualify for the Round of 16.
Matic said during the build-up the team were expecting a "hellish" encounter with the Swiss, who in their game with Brazil fouled star forward Neymar 10 times alone.
Xhaka was born to Kosovo-Albanian parents who were forced to flee the fall of Yugoslavia in 1990. Relations between Serbia and Kosovo have remained fraught, as Serbia refuses to recognize its former province as an independent nation. The Stoke City midfielder wore boots with the flags of Switzerland and Kosovo. The side feature the likes of Xerdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka in midfield which can trouble Serbian defensive guards. "They're trying to provoke us but we won't get dragged down to their level". I think we all together need to steer away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a handsome game and something that brings people together.
The flag of Albania is seen during the traditional dance performing of the members of the ethnic Albanian minority in Macedonia with traditional dresses, as they celebrate the National Albanian Flag Day and the anniversary of Albania's Independence, in Skopje, Macedonia on November 28, 2017.More news: Starbucks says it will close 150 stores next year
Both players are of Kosovan-Albanian descent, and appeared to make a winged salute symbolizing the eagle on the Albanian flag.
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.
Xhaka was nearly upstaged by Shaqiri who clipped the crossbar with a curling, dipping shot from the unlikeliest of angles and the match turned into a pulsating end-to-end affair which was brilliantly settled by Shaqiri.
"We found our balance in the second half".
Xhaka, whose 52rd-minute piledriver set up the Swiss comeback, also made the "double eagle" gesture after his goal. Switzerland have participated in the last three World Cups and European Championship - 27 points in the qualification is remarkable!