Skip to Content Facebook Feature Image

A woman will likely be Mexico's next president. But in some Indigenous villages, men hold the power

News

A woman will likely be Mexico's next president. But in some Indigenous villages, men hold the power
News

News

A woman will likely be Mexico's next president. But in some Indigenous villages, men hold the power

2024-05-29 19:25 Last Updated At:19:30

PLAN DE AYALA, Mexico (AP) — At 4:30 a.m., girls and women begin to appear in the dark streets of this village of Tojolabal people in southern Mexico. They walk in silence. Some head to grind corn to make their family’s tortillas. Others fetch firewood to carry home, on their backs or with the help of a donkey. The youngest hurry to finish chores before running to school.

Hours later, it’s still morning, and it’s time to talk. A group of young women and men gathers in a classroom at the Plan de Ayala high school. They’ve come to discuss gender equality and reflect on the role of women in this remote Indigenous community in Chiapas, Mexico’s poorest state.

More Images
A woman leads her donkey, loaded with goods, in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Friday, May 3, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo /Marco Ugarte)

PLAN DE AYALA, Mexico (AP) — At 4:30 a.m., girls and women begin to appear in the dark streets of this village of Tojolabal people in southern Mexico. They walk in silence. Some head to grind corn to make their family’s tortillas. Others fetch firewood to carry home, on their backs or with the help of a donkey. The youngest hurry to finish chores before running to school.

Carmelina Cruz Gomez gives an interview in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. The 68-year-old Indigenous woman said she would have liked to have women among her community's leaders because she thinks they would make better decisions, but that the men have only allowed women to manage grants for educational matters. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Carmelina Cruz Gomez gives an interview in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. The 68-year-old Indigenous woman said she would have liked to have women among her community's leaders because she thinks they would make better decisions, but that the men have only allowed women to manage grants for educational matters. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A family takes a break from cutting grass for their donkeys and cows in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A family takes a break from cutting grass for their donkeys and cows in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Liz Vázquez, left, speaks and Maria Leticia Santiz translates into the Tojolabal language, during a workshop with a co-ed class about gender equality at a school in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Vázquez and Santiz aim to encourage conversation and reflection in some of Chiapas’ most closed communities, learn the realities of people there, and provide tools to improve their lives. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Liz Vázquez, left, speaks and Maria Leticia Santiz translates into the Tojolabal language, during a workshop with a co-ed class about gender equality at a school in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Vázquez and Santiz aim to encourage conversation and reflection in some of Chiapas’ most closed communities, learn the realities of people there, and provide tools to improve their lives. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Indigenous women walk their donkeys loaded with firewood for cooking in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Indigenous women walk their donkeys loaded with firewood for cooking in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Julia Mendez, a textile weaver, poses for a photo with her work donkey in the Bajucu village of the Las Margaritas municipality, Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. When asked about two women being on the presidential election ballot, Mendez said she wasn't sure if a woman would know how to be a good president, but she liked the idea of women being in charge, something she saw in neighboring Oaxaca state. "Women run things there," she said. "They make soap, handicrafts, I liked it a lot. They have their own money." (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Julia Mendez, a textile weaver, poses for a photo with her work donkey in the Bajucu village of the Las Margaritas municipality, Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. When asked about two women being on the presidential election ballot, Mendez said she wasn't sure if a woman would know how to be a good president, but she liked the idea of women being in charge, something she saw in neighboring Oaxaca state. "Women run things there," she said. "They make soap, handicrafts, I liked it a lot. They have their own money." (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A family carries grass they cut for their livestock in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A family carries grass they cut for their livestock in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Juana Cruz poses for a photo in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Friday, May 3, 2024. Cruz accompanies victims of domestic violence to report crimes, organizes talks to hear communities’ needs, hosts workshops for women about their rights, and teaches children in the Tojolabal language. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Juana Cruz poses for a photo in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Friday, May 3, 2024. Cruz accompanies victims of domestic violence to report crimes, organizes talks to hear communities’ needs, hosts workshops for women about their rights, and teaches children in the Tojolabal language. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Magdalena Hernández Santiz cuts weeds using a machete as her husband, Pedro Cruz Gomez, sprays their field with herbicides before planting corn in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Magdalena Hernández Santiz cuts weeds using a machete as her husband, Pedro Cruz Gomez, sprays their field with herbicides before planting corn in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Madaí Gómez, center, plays soccer in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Gómez said she believes in the potential of women in her community and thinks Mexico’s first woman president could show they can do more even than men: “She could do a better job than anyone else.” (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Madaí Gómez, center, plays soccer in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Gómez said she believes in the potential of women in her community and thinks Mexico’s first woman president could show they can do more even than men: “She could do a better job than anyone else.” (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A young woman cooks tortillas over a fire in her kitchen in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A young woman cooks tortillas over a fire in her kitchen in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Mexico's next president is likely a woman. But in some Indigenous villages, men have all the power

Mexico's next president is likely a woman. But in some Indigenous villages, men have all the power

Young women walk in the morning in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Young women walk in the morning in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Mexico's next president is likely a woman. But in some Indigenous villages, men have all the power

Mexico's next president is likely a woman. But in some Indigenous villages, men have all the power

Jeydi Hernández, 17, wants to be a veterinarian and play basketball, though her first attempt to form a team failed: “There were 12 of us, but my friends got married, and there were only four of us left.” Madaí Gómez, 18, complains she can’t express opinions in her town: “They think women don’t know anything.”

Two Indigenous women lead the workshop; dozens attend. Years ago, such an initiative wouldn't have been so well-received, they say. But change is coming — albeit slowly.

Seventy years ago, Mexican women won the right to vote, and today the country is on the verge of electing its first woman president. Yet some of the Indigenous women who will vote in Sunday’s national election don’t have a voice in their own homes and communities.

In Plan de Ayala and other corners of Mexico, women can’t participate in local government. Men set priorities. Plan de Ayala’s women aren’t even registered residents, even though they are on voter rolls, so its 1,200 men can only guess at the true population.

With no official data, it’s unclear how many communities operate this way. But it’s one of many contradictions for a part of the Mexican population that for centuries has been marginalized. Now, Indigenous women are pushing for change — little by little — with the younger generation often leading the charge.

Of more than 23 million Indigenous people in Mexico — nearly 20% of the population — well over half live in poverty, according to 2022 government data. And women face the worst of it, with the lowest rates of literacy in their communities and little, if any, rights to own land.

Neither of the two women candidates for president — Claudia Sheinbaum of the governing Morena party and the opposition’s Xóchitl Gálvez — have spoken much about Indigenous issues. Still, women in this region can’t hide some hope that a woman president could better address some of their most pressing needs: health care and education access, and protection from domestic violence.

Juana Cruz, 51, is one of the women on a crusade to bring change. She grew up listening to stories of abuses suffered by four generations of her family forced to work on an estate where they had to speak Spanish rather than their native Tojolabal, a Mayan-family language. She remembers being beaten in school for not speaking Spanish well.

Today she's one of the most veteran social activists in Las Margaritas, the municipality that includes Plan de Ayala, and director of Tzome Ixuk, which means “organized woman” in Tojolabal.

There’s been progress in places like Las Margaritas, a sprawling township of some 140,000 people spread across about 400 mostly Indigenous communities, including Plan de Ayala, but unwritten rules still govern much of life in the villages.

Increasingly, girls and young women are rejecting such norms. That’s part of what’s discussed in the workshops at Plan de Ayala high school.

About a third of those gathered said they'd like to continue studying, according to María Leticia Santiz, 28, and Liz Vázquez, 33, who lead the discussion.

“You all have the ability to make decisions in your communities, in your schools, in your families,” Vázquez tells the group. “You are a generation of change.” Santiz translates to Tojolabal.

Vázquez and Santiz are from a collective called Ch’ieltik, meaning “we are those who grow” in the Indigenous language Tseltal. The group’s goal is to encourage conversation and reflection among young people in some of Chiapas’ most closed communities.

In Plan de Ayala, like most rural corners of Las Margaritas, there's little evidence of the coming national election. Posters of Sheinbaum are seen in some places. The face of Gálvez — who has Indigenous roots, with an Otomi father — is not.

Vázquez says that personally, she hasn't connected with either candidate. But in the workshop, she tells the group that a woman becoming president proves nothing is impossible.

The campaigns of the two leading female presidential candidates are notable for what’s lacking: any prioritization of gender issues or detailed plans to address Indigenous communities' issues.

Sheinbaum insists she'll try to reach agreements to compensate for past injustices against some Indigenous peoples. Gálvez has only gone so far as to remind voters of projects she pushed when she was in charge of Indigenous development under a previous administration, two decades ago.

In Plan de Ayala, Vázquez and Santiz leave the workshop at the school encouraged. The young men seem receptive to speaking about equality, and they see signs of change: fathers supporting daughters’ dreams, young women carving out spaces for themselves.

After the workshop, Madaí Gómez, the 18-year-old, heads home to finish helping her mother. She’s not yet sure about continuing school — she wants to be economically independent and considers herself a strong woman who doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Maybe she’ll stay here and find work. Maybe she’ll try making it to the U.S.

That afternoon, she puts on her soccer uniform and heads to the local field, optimistic that more girls want to join. On the dirt track, teens pass older women wearing traditional embroidered blouses and satin skirts returning from the fields, their bodies stooped by bundles of grass hoisted on their backs.

Gómez said she believes in the potential of her community's women and thinks Mexico’s first woman president could show they can do more even than men.

“I want gender equality to come, for them to give us that chance to raise our voices, for our voice to be valued the same as a man’s,” she said.

A woman leads her donkey, loaded with goods, in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Friday, May 3, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo /Marco Ugarte)

A woman leads her donkey, loaded with goods, in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Friday, May 3, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo /Marco Ugarte)

Carmelina Cruz Gomez gives an interview in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. The 68-year-old Indigenous woman said she would have liked to have women among her community's leaders because she thinks they would make better decisions, but that the men have only allowed women to manage grants for educational matters. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Carmelina Cruz Gomez gives an interview in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. The 68-year-old Indigenous woman said she would have liked to have women among her community's leaders because she thinks they would make better decisions, but that the men have only allowed women to manage grants for educational matters. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A family takes a break from cutting grass for their donkeys and cows in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A family takes a break from cutting grass for their donkeys and cows in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Liz Vázquez, left, speaks and Maria Leticia Santiz translates into the Tojolabal language, during a workshop with a co-ed class about gender equality at a school in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Vázquez and Santiz aim to encourage conversation and reflection in some of Chiapas’ most closed communities, learn the realities of people there, and provide tools to improve their lives. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Liz Vázquez, left, speaks and Maria Leticia Santiz translates into the Tojolabal language, during a workshop with a co-ed class about gender equality at a school in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Vázquez and Santiz aim to encourage conversation and reflection in some of Chiapas’ most closed communities, learn the realities of people there, and provide tools to improve their lives. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Indigenous women walk their donkeys loaded with firewood for cooking in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Indigenous women walk their donkeys loaded with firewood for cooking in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Julia Mendez, a textile weaver, poses for a photo with her work donkey in the Bajucu village of the Las Margaritas municipality, Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. When asked about two women being on the presidential election ballot, Mendez said she wasn't sure if a woman would know how to be a good president, but she liked the idea of women being in charge, something she saw in neighboring Oaxaca state. "Women run things there," she said. "They make soap, handicrafts, I liked it a lot. They have their own money." (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Julia Mendez, a textile weaver, poses for a photo with her work donkey in the Bajucu village of the Las Margaritas municipality, Chiapas state, Mexico, Wednesday, May 1, 2024. When asked about two women being on the presidential election ballot, Mendez said she wasn't sure if a woman would know how to be a good president, but she liked the idea of women being in charge, something she saw in neighboring Oaxaca state. "Women run things there," she said. "They make soap, handicrafts, I liked it a lot. They have their own money." (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A family carries grass they cut for their livestock in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A family carries grass they cut for their livestock in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Juana Cruz poses for a photo in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Friday, May 3, 2024. Cruz accompanies victims of domestic violence to report crimes, organizes talks to hear communities’ needs, hosts workshops for women about their rights, and teaches children in the Tojolabal language. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Juana Cruz poses for a photo in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Friday, May 3, 2024. Cruz accompanies victims of domestic violence to report crimes, organizes talks to hear communities’ needs, hosts workshops for women about their rights, and teaches children in the Tojolabal language. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Magdalena Hernández Santiz cuts weeds using a machete as her husband, Pedro Cruz Gomez, sprays their field with herbicides before planting corn in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Magdalena Hernández Santiz cuts weeds using a machete as her husband, Pedro Cruz Gomez, sprays their field with herbicides before planting corn in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Madaí Gómez, center, plays soccer in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Gómez said she believes in the potential of women in her community and thinks Mexico’s first woman president could show they can do more even than men: “She could do a better job than anyone else.” (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Madaí Gómez, center, plays soccer in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Gómez said she believes in the potential of women in her community and thinks Mexico’s first woman president could show they can do more even than men: “She could do a better job than anyone else.” (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A young woman cooks tortillas over a fire in her kitchen in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A young woman cooks tortillas over a fire in her kitchen in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Mexico's next president is likely a woman. But in some Indigenous villages, men have all the power

Mexico's next president is likely a woman. But in some Indigenous villages, men have all the power

Young women walk in the morning in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Young women walk in the morning in Plan de Ayala, a Tojolabal village in the Las Margaritas municipality of Chiapas state, Mexico, Thursday, May 2, 2024. Two women are on Mexico’s ballot for president while women in some Indigenous areas have no voice in their own villages. However, with help from younger generations, some Indigenous women are pushing for change. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Mexico's next president is likely a woman. But in some Indigenous villages, men have all the power

Mexico's next president is likely a woman. But in some Indigenous villages, men have all the power

Next Article

Shaqiri scores stunning goal in Switzerland's 1-1 draw with Scotland at Euro 2024

2024-06-20 09:28 Last Updated At:09:30

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — “Shaq” did it again.

At the age of 32 and having left top-flight European soccer behind to play in MLS, Xherdan Shaqiri is back on the international stage and back scoring again.

His stunning first-half strike secured a 1-1 draw for Switzerland against Scotland at Euro 2024 on Wednesday.

It is the sixth-straight major international tournament in which Shaqiri has scored, dating to the World Cup in 2014.

That’s three World Cups in a row and now three European Championships for the Chicago Fire forward. According to UEFA he is the first player to achieve that feat.

“He proved tonight that he lives and breathes for moments like these,” Switzerland coach Murat Yakin said.

Shaqiri rolled back the years with a first-time curling effort from about 20 meters out at Cologne Stadium.

Scotland led from the 13th minute when Scott McTominay’s shot took a wicked deflection off Fabian Schar to beat Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

But Shaqiri pounced on Anthony Ralston’s loose pass in the 26th to even the match with a left-footed shot into the top corner and past Scotland keeper Angus Gunn.

“If that chance falls to any other player in the Swiss team, it’s not a goal,” Scotland manager Steve Clarke said. “You knew when it was rolling towards Shaqiri it was destined for the back of the net. He’s a top, top player, so you don’t give top, top players that kind of chance.”

Shaqiri’s career has seen him play for some of Europe’s most iconic teams, including Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Liverpool. He joined the Fire two years ago, but in that time has continued to produce for his country on the biggest stage.

“Shaq always gives everything in training,” Switzerland defender Manuel Akanji said. “I don’t know how many other players are able to score that goal.”

The draw leaves Switzerland on four points, second in Group A behind Germany and likely to advance to the round of 16.

Germany became the first nation to advance after a 2-0 win over Hungary earlier in the day.

Scotland’s hopes of making the knockout round depend on its final game against Hungary on Sunday and results elsewhere. No team has failed to advance from the group stage with four points.

Both teams had chances to win the game.

The Swiss should have taken the lead just before the hour mark when Dan Ndoye turned Kieran Tierney on the edge of the box. With just goalkeeper Angus Gunn to beat, Ndoye fired wide of goal.

Grant Hanley then headed against the post from a Scotland free kick and Switzerland’s Zeki Amdouni headed wide at the far post late on.

Scotland has never advanced beyond the group stage of a World Cup or Euros on 11 previous attempts.

But repeated disappointment doesn’t seem to dampen optimism among its fans, who filled Cologne’s square before the game.

Swiss supporters were out in numbers, too, creating a raucous atmosphere in the stadium.

It was certainly a more enjoyable evening for Scotland’s fans than the opening game of the Euros — a 5-1 loss to Germany.

“It was what we expected. It was a good reaction to a disappointing night. We’re still alive in the tournament,” Clarke said.

Goals from Jamal Musiala and İlkay Gündoğan made it two wins from two for host Germany after victory against Hungary and ensured there would be no repeat of its group stage exit from the 2022 World Cup.

Albania substitute Klaus Gjasula scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to hold World Cup semifinalist Croatia to a 2-2 draw in Group B. Gjasula’s own goal, just four minutes after entering the game in the second half, had looked like handing Croatia the win until his late strike.

James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez, right, fouls Scotland's Billy Gilmour during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez, right, fouls Scotland's Billy Gilmour during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Scotland's Che Adams reacts during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Scotland's Che Adams reacts during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri and team mates celebrate their side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri and team mates celebrate their side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn fails to save a shot by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn fails to save a shot by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri scores his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri scores his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn is unable to stop a shot for a goal by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn is unable to stop a shot for a goal by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Recommended Articles