Manuel Akanji adds insult to injury by waving goodbye to defeated Serbia and “shouting goodbye” after Switzerland qualified for the group stage with a gritty 3-2 win at the expense of their rivals in a heated Group G final
After an eventful and fierce 3-2 win, Switzerland defender Manuel Akanji had the last laugh after waving goodbye to Serbia as his side progressed to the second round at the expense of their rivals.
The Manchester City centre-back was photographed with his arm over his side waving in the direction of the Serbian side at the final whistle, as the rest of his team huddled together to celebrate the result on the pitch.
In a back-and-forth clash, the lead changed hands three times with the score 2-2 at half-time, before Nottingham Forest’s Remo Freuler finished off a fluid team move to secure the memorable win three minutes after the break.
Manuel Akanji was photographed waving goodbye to Serbia after a 3-2 win for Switzerland
As the rest of his team celebrated, Akanji was quick to add insult to injury for defeated Serbia
While the rest of his teammates were rejoicing in their thrilling victory, Akanji took it upon himself to have the last word after a game that was hard fought by both sides.
In a farewell jibe to the eliminated Serbs, he was snapped with his hand aloft to rub some extra salt into the wound after the match performances from both sides.
The defender could also be heard shouting “bye” to the Serbian side, according to the report reportsin what is surely a hugely inflammatory gesture.
In total, the clash saw 32 fouls and 10 yellow cards – six for Serbia and four for the Swiss.
The game was hard fought from both sides with 32 fouls and 10 yellow cards in total
And the rivalry once again spilled onto the pitch late in Friday’s group stage meeting, after Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka was pushed in the chest by Nikola Milenkovic, resulting in a melee on the pitch that took several minutes to dissipate.
The pair have a tense history after Swiss goalscorer Xherdan Shaqiri controversially celebrated with a double eagle hand gesture – emblematic of the two-headed eagle on the Albanian flag – at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
There was also an audible PA announcement warning spectators against discriminatory and political language, following an incident which saw a crowd of stewards proceed towards a group of fans early in the second half.
The Manchester City defender’s side progress to the last 16 where they face Portugal
Until Friday’s game, there had been no examples of such fan behavior and the Qatar World Cup had been generally praised for its well-behaved crowds at matches, despite pre-tournament concerns.
The PA announcement was in response to apparent monkey chanting that could be heard from certain parts of the stands, putting a damper on what had been an excellent game of football.
Switzerland will now play Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal on Tuesday night, with a place in the quarter-finals at stake, while Serbia will prepare to head home with Akanji’s final farewell surely in the back of his mind.
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
Serbia XI: V. Milinkovic-Savic 6.5, Milenkovic 5, Veljkovic 5, Pavlovic 5.5, Zivkovic 6, S. Milinkovic-Savic 6, Lukic 6, Kostic 6.5, Tadic 7, Vlahovic 7.5, Mitrovic 7.5
Subs: Gudelj (5), Jovic (5), Maksimovic (5), Djuricic (6), Radonjic (6).
Switzerland XIn: Kobel 5.5, Widmer 6, Akanji 5, Schär 6, Rodríguez 5, Freuler 6, Xhaka 6, Shaqiri 6.5, Sow 6, Vargas 5.5, Embolo 6.5.
Subs: Fernandes (6), Zakaria (6), Fassnacht (6), Okafor (6)
Referee: Fernando Rapallini – 7.
MOTM: Xherdan Shaqiri.