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