Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Deflected Emil Forsberg strike sends Sweden into quarter-finals

Ludwig Augustinsson celebrates scoring for Sweden Ludwig Augustinsson's goal helped Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 their biggest World Cup win since 1994
Cassandra Gardner | 07 July, 2018, 02:53

Sweden today defeated Switzerland by a solitary goal and move to the next round of the World Cup match.

Shots were meanwhile blocked on the edge of the area as Switzerland couldn't quite carve out clear chances.

"It brings tears to my eyes", Forsberg said, "and makes me so proud".

Forsberg has been tasked with taking over the creative mantle since Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired from global football two years ago and the 26-year-old delivered when it mattered.

Sweden coach Janne Andersson: "It was a surreal feeling to stand at the side of the pitch hearing the fans calling out my name, but football is a team sport and this team, for me, personifies that".

Add in impressive goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who writes a gourmet food blog when not playing global football, and Switzerland are becoming a formidable unit. The ball was heading straight towards Sommer but took a fortuitous deflection off Akanji and found its way into the back of the net.

The win means Sweden's impressive campaign motors on as they await the victor of Colombia and England in the quarter-finals. Neither was he passing forward as effectively and as accurately as he had done in previous games, nor was he disciplined enough in his defensive duties, feeding into more threats on the break for Sweden.

What Berg wouldn't give right now to have packed even a little of that Midas touch, despite helping Sweden to a 1-0 last-16 win over Switzerland. They will face the victor of the Colombia-England match.

Olsson was pushed in the back by Lang with only Sommer to beat in injury-time, with Skomina initially awarding a penalty but changing to a free-kick after he consulted the replay. This match is over for Switzerland, although there's now a VAR review.

Switzerland controlled possession early as Sweden mostly defended with 10 men behind the ball when in their own half.

Ekdal threatened to double their lead three minutes later with a sharp turn to get away from his marker and send a volley over from 21 yards out.

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Like the Swiss, the Swedes have gone about their campaign with a brisk, businesslike efficiency, with their only blip coming in their last-minute 2-1 loss to Germany, which was bracketed by victories over South Korea and Mexico.

Switzerland are unbeaten in Russian Federation following draws against Brazil and Costa Rica and a dramatic win over Serbia meaning the world's 6th ranked side have only been defeated in one of their last 25 games (W17, D7).

Switzerland substitute Haris Seferovic saw a late header well saved by Robin Olsen as Switzerland's tournament ended with a whimper.

"We have to be ready to play really from the get-go in such a way to have the initiative on our side", coach Vladimir Petkovic said Monday through an interpreter.

"When they score a goal, it is always extremely hard to crack that tough nut".

Switzerland and Sweden meet in St Petersburg with a place in the last eight of World Cup 2018 awaiting the winners.

Lustig picked up a yellow card midway through the half and will be suspended if Sweden wins the match and progresses to a quarterfinal against the victor of the England-Colombia match.

All in all, the match was very far from being a classic, but the Swedes won't care about that.

In the first half, Lustig dragged a long-range attempt sideways and it went out for a throw-in. And then, from a quick counter, Sweden were about to get their second.

In a post on her Instagram page, she said she "told her to stay in the stomach until at least tomorrow!"

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