Xherdan Shaqiri joins Messi, Ronaldo in elite World Cup class

Shaqiri Switzerland

A quick trivia question: Which three players have scored in each of the last three FIFA Men’s World Cups?

You probably didn’t have to think too hard to guess Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal). Those legends of the game are both appearing in their fifth World Cup at Qatar 2022.

But the player who completes that trio may surprise you. It’s none other than Chicago Fire FC midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, whose opening strike helped Switzerland beat Serbia, 3-2, on Friday to close the group stage.

That victory earned the Swiss second place in Group G, booking a Round of 16 match vs. Group H winners Portugal on Dec. 6 (2 pm ET | FOX, Telemundo). And it all began with Shaqiri’s left-footed shot in the 20th minute at Stadium 974.

Shaqiri was also a difference-maker in Switzerland’s other Group G triumph, a 1-0 opening win over Cameroon. His right-footed cross picked out striker Breel Embolo centrally.

The 31-year-old was an unused substitute in Switzerland’s 1-0 loss to tournament favorites Brazil.

Shaqiri has played in four World Cups for Switzerland, starting with South Africa 2010. He scored a hat-trick in 2014 against Honduras as his team also reached the Round of 16. Then he scored in 2018 against (coincidentally) Serbia.

While Shaqiri’s debut season with Chicago had ups and downs – he had a team-leading 18 goal contributions (7g/11a) in 29 matches as they missed the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the fifth straight year – he’s continually produced for the Rossocrociati.

In Switzerland's competitive history, Shaqiri is third in appearances (111) and sixth in goals (27).