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Xherdan Shaqiri says controversial celebration was 'emotion' during Switzerland win over Serbia

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Romelu Lukaku

Kosovo was a former province of Serbia, and Serbian fans gathered in Kaliningrad Tuesday to celebrate Russia's 3-1 over Egypt while chanting "Kosovo is Serbia".

Switzerland worked their best chance of the half on 30 minutes - Blerim Dzemaili darting onto Steven Zuber's cross but wasn't able to make enough contact to beat Vladimir Stojkovic with a leaping toe poke while under pressure.

Midfielders Valon Behrami of Italian club Udinese, Xherdan Shaqiri of Stoke City and Arsenal's Granit Xhaka all have Kosovar heritage and all three played in the Brazil game. "In football, you have always emotions".

Switzerland earned an impressive draw with Brazil thanks to a second-half goal in their first Group E game of the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation.

Tensions have been building in Serbia ahead of the Switzerland match. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo's independence and relations between the two countries remain tense. Xhaka's parents are originally from Kosovo and they are of Albanian heritage.

"I guarantee you my players will take responsibility, be aggressive and on top of the other team", Krstajic said Thursday. The 34-year-old full-back is set to become the player with the most World Cup appearances for Switzerland, having equalled Charles Antenen's mark of eight matches in the draw with Brazil.

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He opened proceedings at the Kaliningrad Stadium after heading home a towering header, which means he has now scored 15 goals in his last 18 starts for Serbia.

It is not a mistake current coach Mladen Krstajic intends to repeat and the Lazio man - who has reportedly attracted the interest of Real Madrid - was lively against Costa Rica.

In the tournament's first come-from-behind victory, Xhaka made it 1-1 in the 52nd minute with a powerful shot through a crowded penalty area.

If Krstajic can mastermind a second win then the Serbs would reach the knockout stage for the first time as an independent nation. Up next for the Swiss are Costa Rica. Serbia will face Brazil in Moscow at the same time.

The Serbia forward amassed four shots against Costa Rica without scoring, having netted five goals in as many worldwide appearances in 2018. Mitrovic came close in the 19th minute when he controlled a cross from Branislav Ivanovic on his chest and sent a bicycle kick over the bar.

Shaqiri's runs down the wings were a constant threat to Serbia's defense, while the Swiss midfield recovered after a shaky start to dominate in the same way it did against Brazil in their first match.

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