(Reuters) – Switzerland’s 2-1 World Cup win over Serbia was given a mixed reaction by Swiss media who applauded their rousing second-half comeback but criticized celebrations by scorers Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri which appeared to have political overtones.
After falling behind in the fifth minute, Switzerland defied a cauldron-like atmosphere created by fervent Serbian supporters as they hit back with a thunderbolt from Xhaka and a last-minute breakaway goal from Shaqiri.
Players - Albanians - Kosovar - Heritage - Gesture
Both players, who are ethnic Albanians and of Kosovar heritage, celebrated with a gesture which appeared to imitate the eagle displayed on Albania’s flag.
Serbia refuses to recognize the independence of its former province Kosovo, whose 1.8 million people are mostly ethnic Albanians, which broke away 10 years ago.
Immigrants - Balkans - Part - Side - Years
Second-generation immigrants from the Balkans have played a huge part in transforming the Swiss national side over the past 10 years.
Players such as Valon Behrami — playing at his fourth World Cup — Xhaka and Shaqiri have brought both raw talent and passion to a team which was not noted for either in the past.
Efforts - Friday - Reaction - Media - Praise
But their efforts on Friday got a mixed reaction from the Swiss media, which showered praise on their performance but criticized their celebrations.
“Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka have talented feet like no one else in this national team. But their political sensitivity and social awareness let much...
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