"Anyone who does not know the past cannot understand the present and cannot shape the future." The quote from former Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl fits the Swiss World Cup campaign.

These days, the past always plays a little into the present - combined with the hope that the "Nati", as the team is called at home, after the round of 16 this Tuesday (8:00 p.m. CET in the FAZ live ticker for the soccer World Cup, on ARD and MagentaTV) against Portugal has a future in Qatar.

Tobias Rabe

Responsible editor for Sport Online.

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Past I: The 2018 World Cup game between Switzerland and Serbia is a special one for Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri.

You have Kosovar-Albanian roots.

After their gates, the dual citizens show the double-headed eagle, Albania's heraldic animal, which is therefore seen as a provocation in Serbia.

Xhaka and Shaqiri aren't alone in the excitement.

The distracted “Nati” lost 1-0 to Sweden in the round of 16.

It's an unnecessary end.

Present I: The 2022 draw will put the teams back into a World Cup group.

It is the last game of the preliminary round, only one team can reach the round of 16.

The Swiss prevail in an emotional duel with 3:2 goals.

Shaqiri achieves one.

He runs to the Serbian fans and puts his finger over his mouth.

"It was for those who refereed against me," he said.

The gesture is provocative, but not politically reprehensible.

Xhaka also stands out.

First he grabs his crotch in front of the Serbian bench, then wears teammate Ardon Jashari's jersey.

That was also the name of an independence fighter who was killed by Serbs.

Another political message?

Xhaka says no.

Past II: Xhaka and Shaqiri are there in 2014 when Switzerland plays in the World Cup round of 16.

There the selection of coach Ottmar Hitzfeld against the eventual finalist Argentina is in for a surprise.

Lionel Messi has them under control, then Ángel Di María scores in the 118th minute.

A football world is collapsing for the strong Swiss.

Present II: Shaqiri can't get the dramatic defeat out of his head a good eight years later.

"This game always comes back to me because we had a chance to go through and we played a really good game," he said.

That shouldn't happen again.

Future: How the Swiss view of this World Cup will be depends heavily on the round of 16 – and above all on Shaqiri.

While Xhaka is important as a central midfielder for the team's balance and defence, former Bayern player Shaqiri is even more important as a prolific goalscorer.

He has scored at every World Cup or European Championship since 2014.

As usual only Cristiano Ronaldo.

You can't do it without your own goal.

Not only the 1-0 defeats in 2014 and 2018 showed that, but also against Brazil in the preliminary round, when the 1.69 meter tall powerhouse Shaqiri was missing.

Switzerland wants to reach the quarter-finals on home soil for the first time since the 1954 World Cup.

Unlike in 2018, the excitement in Serbia has subsided.

"It's a game, everything is open," says Shaqiri about the duel with Portugal.

"We have quality, we've proven that many times." For example in June in the Nations League, when the Swiss won 1-0.

Shaqiri knows the past, he also understands the present - and now wants to shape the Swiss World Cup future.