Sports, Political Passions, and Peace

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For those who believe that sport and politics should not mix, the on-going FIFA World Cup 2018 might be a tad bit disappointing. The game between Switzerland and Serbia witnessed tense moments, leading to a few controversies. Switzerland, whose squad had many players of Balkan heritage, appeared to be the perfect team for a mixture of political rivalries in a sporting match. Especially, since the match was against Serbia, which gained independence after a bloody war fractured Yugoslavia into countries like Albania and Kosovo. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independent status, which made the clash between Switzerland and Serbia all the more tense given that Switzerland’s star players, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, have Albanian and Kosovan heritage.