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Xherdan Shaqiri: 'Goal celebration against Serbia was just emotion'

Shaqiri coy on 'Albania eagle' gesture
© Reuters
Switzerland attacker Xherdan Shaqiri claims that his controversial 'Albanian eagle' goal celebration against Serbia at the World Cup was "just emotion".

Switzerland attacker Xherdan Shaqiri has described his goal celebration against Serbia as "just emotion" and refused to elaborate further on its apparent political connotations.

Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, both of ethnic Albanian descent, scored as the Rossocrociati came from behind to beat Serbia 2-1 in Friday's World Cup Group E clash in Kaliningrad.

After netting, both players put their open hands together with their thumbs locked and fingers outstretched in what appeared to symbolise the eagle on the Albanian flag.

Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, while Xhaka's parents are originally from Kosovo and of Albanian heritage.

Serbia does not recognize Kosovo's independence and relations between the two countries remain tense, though Serbian players did not react to the gestures during the game.

"I think about this, I don't want to speak," Shaqiri, who also took off his shirt after scoring, told reporters at full time. "In football, you have always emotions.

"You can see what I did, and it's just emotion, and I'm just happy to have scored the goal. I did it, and we don't have to speak about this."

The result moves Switzerland to four points in Group E, level with Brazil, while Serbia are one point behind.


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Xherdan Shaqiri in action for Switzerland on June 8, 2018
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