Qatar 2022 countdown: FIFA World Cup controversies V - From Shaqiri eagle celebration to ‘Battle of Bern’

Leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which begins on November 20, this series will take you through 25 controversies across the previous 21 editions.

Xherdan Shaqiri’s ‘two-headed eagle’ celebrate after scoring Switzerland’s winning goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup group E match against Serbia at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 22, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Xherdan Shaqiri’s ‘two-headed eagle’ celebrate after scoring Switzerland’s winning goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup group E match against Serbia at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 22, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which begins on November 20, this series will take you through 25 controversies across the previous 21 editions.

Leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which begins on November 20, this series will take you through 25 controversies across the previous 21 editions.

Shaqiri’s ‘Eagle’ celebration against Serbia

Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka struck in the second half to lead Switzerland to a come-from-behind 2-1 win in Russia on Friday, but it was their celebration that took most attention.

Shaqiri and Xhaka put their hands together to form what looked like a two-headed eagle, similar to the one on the flag of Albania, threatening to inflame political tensions in the Balkans.

Shaqiri and Xhaka are of Kosovar heritage, with the former born in the partially recognised nation which was fought over by forces from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – Montenegro and Serbia at that time – and the Kosovo Liberation Army in the late 1990s.

Despite being recognised by UEFA, Serbia refuses to see Kosovo as an independent state.

FIFA fined Xhaka and Shaqiri each £7,637.

Mexican fans use homophobic chants against Neuer

German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was subjected to homophobic slurs by Mexican fans during the 2018 FIFA World Cup group F match on June 17, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.

German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was subjected to homophobic slurs by Mexican fans during the 2018 FIFA World Cup group F match on June 17, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. | Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Germany’s defence of its World Cup title started with a whimper as it suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to Mexico in Moscow.

A vibrant Mexico scarcely gave its more illustrious opponent a chance to settle during a pulsating opening. The positive approach was rewarded with the only goal of the game after 35 minutes when Hirving Lozano finished off a flowing counter-attacking move with a crisp drive.

However, FIFA later opened disciplinary proceedings against the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) relating to alleged homophobic chants during match with Germany.

It was alleged that some Mexico fans chanted slurs at Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer as he prepared to take a goal-kick in the first half. 

Eventually, FIFA fined FMF £7,600 for the offense.

French football in shambles

France head coach Raymond Domenech brings on Thierry Henry as a substitute during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Group A match against South Africa at the Free State Stadium on June 22, 2010 in Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa.

France head coach Raymond Domenech brings on Thierry Henry as a substitute during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Group A match against South Africa at the Free State Stadium on June 22, 2010 in Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Finalist in 2006, France did not come even remotely close to the same stage four years later in South Africa.

After abject failure in the finals of the European Championship of 2008, it was a surprise the French football hierarchy had kept Raymond Domenech on as a manager. There were appalling ructions among his squad. The horrific climax, you might think, came at half time in the French dressing room, when France was struggling against Mexico. Domenech suggested to Anelka that he should play wide rather than in the middle, which was greeted with a burst of obscene language.

In the event, though Domenech was prepared to give Anelka a second chance — one which would hardly be taken — the hierarchy packed Anelka back home.

Franck Ribery, not the same player who made such an impact in the 2006 tournament in Germany, was an abrasive and disruptive figure who, for some reason, had his knife into the young Bordeaux midfielder, Yoann Gourcuff. Thierry Henry, author of the outrageous double handball which gave France a vital goal in Paris against Ireland and virtually secured the nation’s passage to South Africa, thought he would be sure of a starting place in the side but didn’t get it.

The French government right the way up to the President Sarkozy made it their business to interfere in the chaos, Sarkozy actually receiving Henry on an official visit. Not a moment too soon, the President of the French Federation, largely responsible for the Domenech fiasco, resigned.

Tevez’ offside goal against Mexico

Argentina’s Carlos Tevez (11) scores from a header past Mexico‘s Efrain Juarez (R) during the 2010 World Cup Round of 16 match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg on June 27, 2010. “I know I was offside, I know it was selfish but as long as they say it was a goal it’s OK for me and the team.” said Tevez after the match.

Argentina’s Carlos Tevez (11) scores from a header past Mexico‘s Efrain Juarez (R) during the 2010 World Cup Round of 16 match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg on June 27, 2010. “I know I was offside, I know it was selfish but as long as they say it was a goal it’s OK for me and the team.” said Tevez after the match. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Argentina, managed by Diego Maradona, defeated Mexico 3-1 in Cape Town to set up a heavyweight quarterfinal clash with Germany in 2010. While the South American did dominate the match, Carlos Tevez looked suspiciously offside before he scored the opener from a Lionel Messi cross in the 25th minute.

Video replays of the goal were played in the stadium which showed there were no players between Tevez and the goal when he received the pass.

The decision prompted the Mexican side to surround the linesman in the aftermath of the goal being awarded and led to a melee as the referee tried to leave the field during half-time.

“At first I thought he [the referee Roberto Rosetti] was saying that it was not a goal, then I saw the signal and I started (celebrating) and I was happy,” Tevez said post the victory. “I know I was offside, I know it was selfish but as long as they say it was a goal it’s OK for me and the team.”

Battle of Bern

One of the many incidents in the Hungary and Brazil 1954 quarterfinal match.  The game, which was won by Hungary 4-2. was marked by fighting and angry
scenes at Berne, Switzerland on June 27, 1954.

One of the many incidents in the Hungary and Brazil 1954 quarterfinal match. The game, which was won by Hungary 4-2. was marked by fighting and angry scenes at Berne, Switzerland on June 27, 1954. | Photo Credit: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

The 1954 World Cup quarterfinal between Hungary and Brazil would surely have finished in total chaos were it not for the brave refereeing of England’s Arthur Ellis. The Hungarians who won 4-2 were hardly the culprits. Indeed, when Hidegkuti scored in only the third minute, stealing in to hit a left wing corner into the roof of the net, he had his shorts torn off. Just five minutes later, undismayed, it was his immaculate cross which Kocsis headed in: 2-0.

In the mud, under the rain, the game became increasingly harsh. When Hungary’s right back Buzansky brought down Indio, big right back Djalma Santos - later to be seen chasing Czibor, spitting and threatening - scored from the spot. But Hungary itself converted a penalty when, on 60 minutes, Pinhiero, the Brazilian centre half, handled a cross from Kocsis, left back Lantos making it 3-1.

Still the game was open and a glorious goal by powerful Brazilian right winger Julinho, an electric solo, a devastating shot, made it 3-2. Now Nilton Santos, the Brazilian left back, and Bozsik came to blows; both were expelled by Arthur Ellis.

Chaos threatened. Police were on the field. Fists flew. Four minutes from the end, Ellis sent off Humberto Tozzi, the Brazilian inside-left, who fell dramatically but vainly to his knees to plead for mercy. A minute more, and Czibor, at inside-left for Puskas, crossed for the unforgiving head of Kocsis to make it 4-2.

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 Episode 13: David Gower
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