Why are Serbia and Switzerland rivals? European nations will face off in Group G of the World Cup in Qatar

Football rivalries between countries are often fraught with historical significance and Serbia v Switzerland is no different.

The two European nations are set to face off in Group G of the Qatar World Cup and things could get a bit spicy.

Granit Xhaka got in trouble for this celebration in 2018 when these two met

It’s a game with a long and messy political history and it has led to some controversial moments when the two meet on the pitch.

Why are Serbia and Switzerland rivals?

Serbia and Switzerland are miles apart geographically, but the latter has become a refugee for many families from Kosovo and Albania.

People like Granit Xhaka and the family of Xherdan Shaqiri were forced to flee Kosovo and Albania in 1998 as the former Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) invaded Kosovo to stop Liberation Army attacks on their soldiers.

The war was short but brutal and resulted in the deaths of thousands and saw 370,000 people flee Kosovo and Albania.

Many of these families ended up in Switzerland.

Shaqiri was also punished for this celebration

Shaqiri was also punished for this celebration

Xhaka and Shaqiri are just two of the Swiss stars who identify as having Kosovar-Albanian heritage.

They both made headlines when Serbia faced Switzerland in Russia at the 2018 World Cup for the first time.

They both marked and celebrated by displaying the eagle, which is on the Albanian flag.

After the match, the Serbian FA lodged a complaint and FIFA had to launch disciplinary proceedings.

The pair were fined, but Xhaka defended his actions after the game, he said: “It was for my people, who always supported me. For those who have not neglected me, in my native country, where my parents’ roots are. They were just emotions.

Kosovo is now an independent country but Serbia refuses to recognize its status, so the tension is there.

Therefore, when these two meet in December, there is much more than a football match at stake.

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Why are Serbia and Switzerland rivals? European nations will face off in Group G of the World Cup in Qatar

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