Scrappy Swedes edge Swiss to reach quarterfinals

Irene MckinneyJul 04, 2018

Sweden's midfielder Albin Ekdal (centre) and Switzerland's forward Breel Embolo (right) fight for the ball during their 2018 World Cup round of 16 match at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on July 3, 2018.

Sweden XI: Olsen, Lindelof, Granqvist, Augustinsson, Claesson, Gustav Svensson, Ekdal, Emil Forsberg, Berg. Against either Colombia or England, both sides can expect a frustrating match, but they must be patient.

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

With the result, Sweden booked their place in the last eight of the World Cup for the first time since 1994, when they went on to finish third.

There had been little between the sides throughout the 90 minutes.

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.

The match quickly became one-paced with both teams seemingly wary about conceding the opening goal, but Sweden found a way to break the deadlock midway through the second half through Forsberg, whose shot from the edge of the box was deflected into the top corner by Manuel Akanji.

Emil Forsberg delivered the victor in the 66th minute when the RB Leipzig winger's shot from the edge of the penalty area was deflected past Yann Sommer.

David Hytner's match report from the St Petersburg Stadium will follow.

Manager Janne Andersson has few star names in his squad but has built a well-organised team who defend well, are hard-working and have a strong team ethic.

"We know that we're a good team, we've earned our successes". "What other teams and countries think about that, you'll have to ask them". "That feels unusual - during the match I'm very much focused on the game".

Switzerland started off their World Cup campaign in impressive fashion as they came from behind to register a 1-1 draw against the mighty Brazil courtesy of a Steven Zuber goal.

The referee first awarded a penalty but then changed his mind after consulting the video assistant referee to award a free kick, but Sommer saved Ola Toivonen's effort.

Forsberg also produced a well-timed clearance in his own penalty area to preserve the advantage against a Switzerland side who finished with 10 men, defender Michael Lang seeing red after clipping the heels of Martin Olsson just outside the penalty area when the substitute was clean through on goal. "We also congratulate the Swedish team".

"They have done precisely what they're very good at", Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said, "and that might have been enough to beat us".

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