Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Emil Forsberg ousts Switzerland and sends Sweden into World Cup last eight

Ludwig Augustinsson celebrates scoring for Sweden Ludwig Augustinsson's goal helped Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 their biggest World Cup win since 1994
| 04 July, 2018, 07:27

The heir to Zlatan Ibrahimovic finally delivered for Sweden at the World Cup.

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.

This was far from a classic at the Saint Petersburg Stadium and if Colombia or England's players were watching on from Moscow, they could be forgiven for feeling bullish about their prospects in the last eight. However, it took a deflection off the foot of centre back Manuel Akanji and bounced up and into the net. Yann Sommer had to make a superb diving save to deny Berg, and Ekdal squandered a golden opportunity in the 41st minute.

After the break there were early openings for both sides, but the game soon settled into the same rhythm as the first half, with Switzerland dominating possession without providing much in the way of goal threat.

Xhaka was booked for pulling back Viktor Claesson as Sweden looked to break, and then Shaqiri's strike from inside the area was blocked and deflected wide.

The last time Sweden made it this far at the World Cup was in 1994, when the team reached the semifinals.

At the other end Granit Xhaka hammered one shot narrowly over before Blerim Dzemaili followed suit.

It is Vladimir Petkovic's side who are favourites to come out on top in Tuesday afternoon, with dabblebet offering 13/8 (2.63) for a Swiss success inside 90 minutes.


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

This appears to be a very evenly-matched contest and the 2/1 (3.0) quote for extra-time and, potentially, penalty kicks being required to separate these sides could well prove popular with punters.

"We've worked this way throughout, we're continuing the same way, and what other teams and countries think about that is not terribly interesting".

Andersson, however, is not unduly troubled by his team's lack of creativity.

Switzerland sparked into life after going behind, but Sweden defended stoutly, making 33 clearances and nine blocks in total while completing fewer than half the number of passes that their opponents did.

They finished the game with 10 men after right back Michael Lang was sent off in stoppage time for a professional foul on Sweden substitute Martin Olsson.

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. "We also congratulate the Swedish team".

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