Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka could be punished for celebrations in Switzerland's 2-1 win over Serbia

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Granit Xhaka celebrates his stunning equaliser for the Swiss.

Switzerland pair Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka could both be punished after their celebrations in a dramatic 2-1 win over Serbia at the World Cup.

The Stoke City winger and Arsenal midfielder scored the goals in the come-from-behind victory in Kaliningrad, after Aleksandar Mitrovic had headed the Serbs into the lead.

The duo, both of Kosovar-Albanian heritage, are believed to have used an Albanian nationalist symbol to celebrate their goals.

Xhaka, whose father was imprisoned in the former Yugoslavia after protesting for Kosovan independence, celebrated his stunning second-half equaliser by locking his open hands together at the thumbs and ‘flapping’ his fingers.

The gesture resembles – and is understood to be a reference to – the two-headed eagle on Albania’s national flag.

Jovan Surbatovic, the general secretary of the Football Association of Serbia, said on Saturday that the organisation intends to write a complaint to FIFA regarding the matter.

Shaqiri, who was born in Kosovo and plays with the Kosovan flag stitched into his right boot with the Swiss flag on his left, celebrated in the same manner after scoring a 90th-minute winner.

The celebrations run the risk of inflaming tensions between ethnic Albanians and nationalist Serbs in Kosovo and beyond.

Kosovo’s Albanian-majority political institutions declared independence from Serbia in 2008. A decade on, Serbia still does not recognise Kosovo’s independence.

Xhaka and Shaqiri could face punishment from football’s governing body FIFA, if their celebrations are deemed to be displays of political symbols.

Shaqiri put his reaction to his late winner down to emotion. “I think in football you have always emotions,” the 26-year-old said.

“You can see what I did and I think it’s just emotion. I’m very happy to score this goal. It’s not more. I think we don’t have to speak about this now.”

Vladimir Petkovic, Switzerland’s Bosnian-born head coach, suggested his players were caught in the heat of the moment and hoped the celebrations would not detract from his side’s victory.

“You should never mix politics and football. It’s clear that emotions show up and that’s how things happen,” he said.

“I think we all together need to steer away from politics in football and we should focus on this sport as a beautiful game and something that brings people together.”

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Analysis of Romelu Lukaku's two-goal display for Belgium as he draws level with Cristiano Ronaldo

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Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard both scored braces as Belgium made light work of Tunisia, securing a 5-2 win in their World Cup Group G clash on Saturday.

Hazard won and converted a penalty to open the scoring in the sixth minute before Lukaku doubled their advantage 10 minutes later.

Tunisia pulled one back through Dylan Bronn within the next two minutes but their two-goal cushion was restored on the stroke of half-time when the Manchester United striker scored his second.

Hazard then struck again six minutes into the second period while substitute Michy Batshuayi added a fifth at the death for the Red Devils.

There was still time however for Wahbi Khazri to score another for Tunisia in stoppage time.

Here, we analyse Lukaku’s performance.

KEY STATS

Goals – 2

Shots – 2

Shots on target – 2

Touches – 26

Key passes – 2

Aerial duels won – 5

30-SECOND REPORT

Lukaku led the line in an unchanged 3-4-3 for Belgium. After a frustrating first half against Panama, the striker was happy to capitalise on the space he was afforded in this encounter.

He used the forward runs of Hazard and Dries Mertens intelligently to peel to away from defenders and into space. Lukaku took both his finishes expertly but could have had even more in his 58-minute display.

Romelu Lukaku (L) scores his second goal.

Romelu Lukaku (L) scores his second goal.

GOT RIGHT

Movement

With two goals from two shots, it’s no secret that Lukaku’s finishing was at its best but it was his movement to create those chances for himself that was equally impressive.

He cleverly arced away to the far side to receive the ball in space, used a slight drop of his shoulder to create a yard and score his first. A quick dart behind the back-line saw him latch onto Thomas Meunier’s pass for his second.

GOT WRONG

Control

His most prominent weakness was evident even in this otherwise commanding performance. A frequently poor first touch has let him down on several occasions and cost him a goal this time around as well.

Kevin De Bruyne’s through ball afforded him a one-on-one with the keeper but a heavy touch saw him eventually run it out for a goal-kick. That was one of three bad touches before he was replaced within the hour.

SPORT360 VERDICT

Lukaku appears to be in at his clinical best in this tournament and looks set to give Cristiano Ronaldo a run for him money in the race for the Golden Boot after drawing level with the Portugal star on four goals.

He became the first player in 32 years – since Diego Maradona – to score more than one goal in back-to-back World Cup matches. His early substitution was testament to his importance to the side with Roberto Martinez keen to keep him fresh going forward.

RATING – 8/10

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Belgium player ratings as sparkling Eden Hazard gets 9 and Romelu Lukaku 8 in 5-2 win over Tunisia

Chris Bailey 23/06/2018
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Belgium did what England couldn’t do and made light work of Tunisia in a five-star show on Saturday afternoon.

Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku lit up proceedings at the Spartak Stadium but they were far from the only star performers for Belgium.

While the Red Devils were fairly open at the back, it didn’t matter as quite feasibly they could have scored 10 if not for some profligate finishing.

Check out our ratings below …

BELGIUM (3-4-2-1)

Thibaut Courtois – Belgium had squalls of pressure to deal with but Courtois was only forced into a few routine saves, and could do nothing about Dylan Bronn’s header. 6

Toby Alderweireld – Wonder pass to Hazard, from his own half, sealed the game for Belgium. Distribution from the back is a key asset – will he be able to bypass England too? 8

Dedryck Boyata – Clearly the junior partner in the three-man defence.  Looked unsettled at times, particularly in dealing with the lively Anice Badri. 6

Jan Vertonghen – Took a blow to the head in the second half but it was the only time he was dazed by the Tunisians all day. 7

Thomas Meunier – Marauding wing-back was everywhere for the Red Devils – he clamped down his flank and his sumptuous assist for Lukaku’s second was the highlight of a fine attacking performance, too. 8

Kevin De Bruyne – Understated presence with Hazard et al wreaking havoc in front of him – some gorgeous touches however sent many attacks going. Toyed with the Tunisians in the end with a few fancy flicks, before being subbed ready for England on Thursday. 8

Axel Witsel – Does not have the class of a De Bruyne though kept it simple and is an important screen for the defence. Guilty of ball-watching on occasion when Tunisia got in behind. 7

Yannick Carrasco – Did not see as much of the ball down the left as Meunier on the other side but made it count when he did with two chance-creating passes. Bent a wicked shot just wide of the post. 7

Dries Mertens – Played second fiddle to Hazard – before his partner-in-crime went off. Took on the responsibility and set up the wasteful Batshuayi with two glorious chance. Also provided the final pass for Lukaku’s first. 7

Eden Hazard – Endured an injury-hit, up-and-down season with Chelsea but perhaps that’s just kept him fresh for the big one. Won and converted a penalty before rounding the goalkeeper for his second. Not just about the goals, though. Bursting with pretty, incisive passing and defence-stretching dribbles. 9

Romelu Lukaku – Funny how good he looks when his back is not always towards goal – Jose Mourinho, take note. Two super finishes and could have had a hat-trick but for a rare poor touch to De Bruyne’s through ball. 8

SUBS

Maroune Fellaini – Played in a deeper midfield role when Lukaku was brought off and kept the ball ticking over nicely while remaining diligent in defence. 6

Michy Batshuayi – Doesn’t deserve a high grade despite scoring. Found a defender when faced with an opening goal and though Tunisia keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha did well to deny him a further three times, the gulf in class from Lukaku was obvious. 5

Youri Tielemans – On for just five minutes and made the most of it, curling the ball in for Batshuayi who scored – at long last. 7

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