Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri both scored in Switzerland’s 2-1 win over Serbia – before they each celebrated their goals with the same controversial gesture.
The Arsenal midfielder scored Switzerland’s first goal with a thumping long-range effort before celebrating vigorously with a ‘double eagle’ gesture – the symbol of Albania.
Now to say that celebration is controversial would be polite. Shaqiri replicated it as well after his winning goal in the 90th minute, but not as intensely as Xhaka.
Xhaka was born to Kosovo-Albanian parents who were forced to flee the fall of Yugoslavia in 1990. Xhaka’s father was even imprisoned for more than three years for demonstrating against the Communist regime in the late 1980s.
Shaqiri was born in present-day Kosovo but emigrated with his family to Switzerland when he was a baby.
The Kosovo War that ended in 1999, and the territory remains a contentious territory for both Serbia and Albania, declared independence in 2008, and has its own Fifa-recognised team.
Significant celebration from Xhaka. An ethnic Albanian Serb whose family had to flee Kosovo from Serbia and his father was put in prison for 3 years protesting Yugoslavian rule. He does the Albanian Eagle – the symbol of Albania. #worldcup
— Ian Greenhill 🚀 (@ohjawbone) June 22, 2018
What a goal from Xhaka. Had been criticised for not doing enough in first game by Swiss media. Not sure the double eagle celebration was a wise move v Serbia however.
— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) June 22, 2018
— Sokol Havolli (@sokolhavolli) June 22, 2018
Xhaka doing what appeared to be the Albanian eagle as his celebration after that amazing goal vs Serbia… spot of Balkan politics there #SERSWI
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) June 22, 2018