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Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri at centre of intense World Cup rivalry for Switzerland

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And in a World Cup that has been as much a geopolitical event as a football tournament so far, another is on the cards when the world’s 15th best team according to FIFA face Serbia in what could be a decider for second place in Group G on December 2.

As representatives for the models of neutrality, Switzerland’s football team has found itself mixed up in a peculiar number of political rows over the past decade.



Before that Murat Yakin’s team will face Cameroon, in this morning’s group opener, and tournament favourites Brazil next Monday afternoon.



On that occasion both Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka and then Stoke winger Xherdan Shaqiri were fined for celebrating their goals in a 2-1 win by making an eagle sign with their hands, a Kosovan nationalist symbol.



Dating back to their qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup, there have been complaints among a minority who believe an integrated, welcoming football team where players from varied backgrounds are united is not a fitting symbol for their nation.

It was their first knockout win in a major tournament since 1938 - with three of their past four World Cup appearances ending in the round of 16.

Xhaka, one of Arsenal's best players this season, operates in front of the back line with Remo Freueler, of Nottingham Forest, which is designed to then allow the likes of Shaqiri and Monaco’s Breel Embolo to thrive in attack.
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