Serbia vs Switzerland: We are ready for ‘hellish’ clash, Matic says

Romelu Lukaku

Serbia v Switzerland

The 34-year-old full-back is set to become the player with the most World Cup appearances for Switzerland, having equalled Charles Antenen's mark of eight matches in the draw with Brazil.

A 1-0 win over Costa Rica and Brazil's surprise 1-1 draw with Switzerland has left Serbia on the cusp of advancing from Group E in Russian Federation. "That's not enough; we have to play better against Serbia", Petkovic said through an interpreter.

Serbia made a flying start and Mitrovic forced Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer into an early save with a close-range header.

One team that has definitely taken notice is Serbia. Serbia doesn't recognize Kosovo's independence and relations between the two countries remain tense. The side feature the likes of Xerdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka in midfield which can trouble Serbian defensive guards.

Shaqiri, meanwhile, was also born in Kosovo and had their flag printed on his right boot for the game against Switzerland.

However not everyone was enjoying the political gesture, as Serbian fans booed in the stadium, other football fans shared their disgust at the gestures on Twitter. "They're trying to provoke us but we won't get dragged down to their level".

He has the flags of Switzerland and Kosovo tattooed on his left arm.

Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic was equally reluctant to be drawn into the debate.

Both displayed a bird hand signal as they celebrated scoring goals, and considering their pre-match comments, post-match social media posts, and ethnic backgrounds, those were clearly meant to represent the double-eagle symbol in the middle of the Albanian flag.

For 47 minutes, Serbia had one foot in the last 16, playing a muscular yet intelligent football that was immediately reminiscent of Croatia's 3-0 win over Argentina the night before.

Serbia almost had their second just before the half but Dusko Tosic's diving header from point-blank range skidded off his head to Nemanja Matic who couldn't react fast enough to finish the chance.

Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic has vowed to keep up his side's high-tempo, physical approach that earned them a draw with Brazil. We've seen again today how difficult Costa Rica are to beat but it is highly unlikely that the hard-running, niggly Swiss spoilers will afford them any more space to play. Switzerland have participated in the last three World Cups and European Championship - 27 points in the qualification is remarkable!

Latest News