Sweden progress to World Cup quarter-final
Posted: 3 July 2018 Time: 17:31
Sweden secured their spot in the quarter-finals at the 2018 World Cup with a 1-0 win over Switzerland in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.
It goes without saying both nations were never expected to reach this stage of the finals, not least Sweden, who topped Group F ahead of defending champions Germany, who have since departed.
Therefore, it was no surprise when the first clear opportunity came to the Swedes, but Marcus Berg wasn’t on the same script after slicing a shot after a nicely laid through ball.
Sweden maintained their strong start and Berg was on the end of another chance, but Yann Sommer stretched long to pull clear on 28 minutes.
Switzerland were looking bereft of ideas as the influential Xherdan Shaqiri struggled to penetrate a sturdy Swede defence, with often little support.
After scoring in long-range fashion against Serbia in the group stages, Granit Xhaka attempted a similar drive but the ball dipped low and over the top of Robin Olsen’s goal on 33 minutes.
The first presentable opportunity fell to Blerim Dzemaili after feeding off an exchange of passes in the box, but the end result skied disappointingly over the top.
Sweden went close again after a low cross out wide on the right found Albin Ekdal, but the latter hoofed over the top five minutes to halftime.
The Blue-Yellow were up and running 66 minutes in the second half as a shot from Emil Fosberg on the edge of the area trickled off a defender to bounce in the net.
All this after sustained pressure arriving from the Swiss who up at this point had been chomping at the bit of getting a solid footing on the contest.
As the game approached its climax, Switzerland pushed forward for the equalizer but, as had been the case over the course of the game, weren’t able to bridge the Swedish defence.
In time added on, the Swiss were reduced to 10 men after Michael Lang denied Martin Olsson a clear sight on goal, as the Swedes progressed to their first quarterfinal spot since 1958.