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Xherdan Shaqiri joins elite group of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Switzerland's playmaker became only the third footballer to have scored in each of the past three World Cups.

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Serbia and Switzerland, at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar. (AP)

Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri joined the elite group of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as he becomes only the third footballer to have scored in each of the past three World Cups.

Shaqiri, 31, opened the scoring for the Swiss in their 3-2 victory over Serbia to book their place in the Round of 16.

Shaqiri put Switzerland in front in the 20 th minute when his low shot was deflected off Strahinja Pavlovic.

Born in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, Shaqiri ran straight to the opposing fans to celebrate — putting his finger to his lips after having been previously taunted by that section of the crowd.

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Shaqiri scored the opening goal and then played a key role in the winner. He clipped a ball into the penalty box for Ruben Vargas, who back-heeled to Freuler for the goal.

Despite those goals, Shaqiri wasn’t happy to be substituted in the 69th minute. Before taking his seat on the bench, he whacked the side of the dugout with his elbow.

The countries met in the group stage at the last World Cup in 2018, resulting in a Swiss victory, but Shaqiri and Xhaka were fined for celebrating with hand gestures representing Albania’s national eagle symbol.

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Xhaka and Shaqiri have Albanian heritage linked to Kosovo.

Serbia was also fined and warned by FIFA about the “display of discriminatory banners and messages” by supporters.

An announcement was made at Stadium 974 during Friday’s match that appeared to be in relation to chanting from the Serbian fans. FIFA wouldn’t say what the announcement was after the match.

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Against Portugal, the Swiss will be looking to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since hosting the competition in 1954.

First published on: 03-12-2022 at 09:47 IST
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