Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
'Alpine Messi' faces the man himself
by Paul Kennedy, July 1st, 2014 2AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  germany, switzerland, world cup 2014

MOST COMMENTED

[WORLD CUP: Spotlight] Lionel Messi, who has four goals in three games at the World Cup, could meet his match on Tuesday when Argentina goes up against Switzerland and the player known as the "Alpine Messi," Kosovo-born Xherdan Shaqiri, who scored a hat trick against Honduras and whose moves are uncannily similar to those of the man himself.

STORYLINE.“We are the clear outsiders but we have nothing to lose and much to gain,” said Switzerland's German coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, who will retire after the World Cup. “We can make history. In one game, anything is possible.”

The Swiss have not reached the quarterfinals at the World Cup since they hosted the tournament 60 years ago.

Ezequiel Lavezziwill join Gonzalo Higuain and Messi in the Argentina attack following the injury to Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, who was injured in the 3-2 win over Nigeria and might miss the rest of the World Cup.

PLAYER TO WATCH.The 22-year-old Shaqiri, who plays for Bayern Munich, is one of eight players on Switzerland's World Cup team who hail from the former Yugoslavia and like fellow stars Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami were born to Albanian parents in Kosovo

Immigration from Yugoslavia began in the 1970s and 1980s as Swiss businesses sought out temporary workers, but it and picked up speed during the Bosnian War and Kosovo War with a influx of refugees. Anti-immigration sentiments, fueled by far right parties, have grown in Switzerland as in other Western European countries. But Shaqiri is proud of his roots, wearing the flags of Switzerland, Albania and Kosovo on the cleats and identifying himself as "Kosovar Albanian."

Swiss fans know him as the "Kraft wuerfel," or Power cube, but the "Alpine Messi" will do. He is short like Messi -- 5-foot-6 -- and has a wicked left foot. If you didn't see Shaqiri's red uniform with the No. 23 on it, you'd have thought it was Messi himself as he scored one of the goals of the World Cup against Honduras, starting out on the right corner of the penalty area, moving to his left and hitting a curving blast inside the far corner of the Honduran goal.

The move is nothing new to Swiss fans, who have marveled at his cut-back move to his left since his days as a teenager at FC Basel (see below 10 of his best goals).



1 comment
  1. Gus Keri
    commented on: July 1, 2014 at 8:42 a.m.
    Switzerland was the only team to beat Spain in World Cup 2010 with suffocating defense. They are very capable of killing any game with their tactics and Messi might have a big problem facing them without the help of his teammates. I don't think they will go for attacking soccer as they did in the group stage. Look for a bring game. But if there is a player who can break them, it is Messi.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Sunil Gulati    
"Our base-line [for average attendance] was 30,000; 35,000 would've been great, and 40,000 beyond our wildest ...
What They're Saying: Investment banker Keith Harris    
"It was a shock result. There are four players that we can reflect on and the ...
What They're Saying: Megan Rapinoe    
"Gay bars are so important for me and my community. That could have been me. That ...
What They're Saying: Gudmundur Benediktsson    
"It's been quite strange and actually hectic because the phone hasn't stopped ringing. But I'm really ...
MLS: Top fives in Fan XI voting remain steady    
The MLS All-Star Game will be played July 28 in San Jose and every few days ...
MLS Countdown: Rivals wrap up season series early    
The MLS campaign has yet to reach its midpoint yet already teams are facing each other ...
USA-Colombia: Lots at stake in third-place game    
The USA must quickly get back in the saddle after its disastrous semifinal against Argentina when ...
U.S. women: Crunch time to get down to 18    
U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis has recalled injured stars Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, ...
Video Pick: 90 seconds of Messi Magic    
The folks at Fox Soccer created a 90-second montage of Lionel Messi's best touches in Argentina's ...
NASL: Kranjcar leaves Cosmos for Rangers    
Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar, who played seven NASL spring season games after joining the New York ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives