FIFA working on Kosovo cases hours before World Cup debut

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Federation Internationale de Football Association on Monday approved 16 foreign-based footballers to represent Kosovo just hours ahead of the their first competitive match in a World Cup qualifier against Finland.

Kosovo had six of their squad cleared to play by Federation Internationale de Football Association on the day of the country's first competitive match.

Finland, which is seeking its first World Cup appearance, had taken the lead in the 18th minute through Paulus Arajuuri.

Kosovo grew in confidence after their goal but could not find a victor.

The 23-year-old was the last of the six cleared to switch nationalities just before the game, following former Albania internationals Amir Rrahmani, Alban Meha, Herolind Shala, Milot Rashica and Samir Ujkani.

Ujkani played from the start and Meha came on as a late substitute.

Kosovo were due to play Finland away on Monday in a World Cup qualifier.

PARIS FRANCE- JULY 10 Paul Pogba of France wins the ball from Joao Mario of Portugal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Final match between Portugal and France at Stade de France
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Switzerland and Albania both have a number of players with Kosovar roots such as Arsenal's Granit Xhaka while Belgium's Adnan Januzaj is also rumoured to be interested in swapping his worldwide allegiances to the state which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 (Finland's Kosovo-born midfielder Perparim Hetemaj has said he will not play in Monday's match). "I believe the second half was very good".

Kosovo's Valon Berisha made history on Monday night as he scored Kosovo's first goal in its competitive debut.

Costa got his second while David Silva and substitute Álvaro Morata also got braces and Vitolo opened his global account as the former world champions ran riot.

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini was sent off for a second bookable offence as Italy beat Israel 3-1.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic gave Croatia the lead with a penalty one minute before the interval at an empty Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb.

It was one of three 1-1 draws in the group, with the clashes between Croatia and Turkey in Zagreb and Ukraine and Iceland in Kiev also ending level. The visitors, who captured the imagination of millions of spectators by reaching the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, began where they had left off in France by taking a fifth minute lead through Alfred Finnbogason.

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