Sweden wins scrappy Swiss encounter to reach quarterfinals

Sergio Cunningham
July 4, 2018

Forsberg's 66th-minute shot was directed straight at Sommer until Manuel Akanji stuck out a foot and deflected it past his stranded keeper.

Marcus Berg had a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring for Sweden in the eighth minute after going through inside the box but he rushed his shot and failed to hit the target.

With six minutes remaining before the interval, Blerim Dzemaili was teed up for Switzerland's best opportunity of the half but the Bolgona playmaker sent his first-time effort from a central position over the bar.

During the opening stages of the game, both Xherdan Shaqiri and Steven Zuber failed to threaten with long-range strikes and Sweden nearly capitalised when Marcus Berg was played through on goal, only for the forward to slice a half-volley well wide of the target.

The Swedes were hoping to reach the last eight of the World Cup for the first time since 1994, while the Swiss hadn't reached the quarter finals since they hosted the tournament in 1954. "Even if he doesn't succeed in every dribble, in every part of his game he contributes in so many ways and he has those decisive moments".

The teams were goalless after a scrappy first half in St Petersburg.

That was a fair assessment of Forsberg's contribution before and after his goal, with the RB Leipzig midfielder unable to bring any sort of influence to bear for large parts of the match.

"We know what got us this far", Granqvist told a news conference.

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With the teams evenly matched and neither boasting a wealth of attacking options, the tie could well be decided by a penalty shootout, and Sweden coach Janne Andersson said he had a plan for that eventuality. "What other teams and countries think about that, you'll have to ask them".

Switzerland came to life after the goal but Sweden defended stoutly and looked threatening on the counterattack.

Olsson was pushed in the back by Lang with only Sommer to beat in injury-time, with Skomina initially awarding a penalty but changing his decision to a free-kick after he consulted the replay.

They rallied before the end but it was too little too late and Michael Lang was sent off in added time for a push on Martin Olsson as he raced clear.

Sommer saved Ola Toivonen's effort, and the game ended seconds later. "We should have done things better, but we were not good enough to win this match".

"We're not satisfied with this", he said.

Switzerland came second in Group E with 5 points and will come up against a Swedish team that surprised many to pick the top spot in their group following a 3-0 thumping of Switzerland.

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