Sweden Eliminates Switzerland, Move on to Quarter-finals

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Emil Forsberg’s deflected effort handed Sweden a 1-0 victory over Switzerland and a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 1994.

A cagey encounter from the outset, Sweden fell back on their tried and tested formula: sit deep, defend solidly and strike on the counter-attack.

As such, Switzerland were the more active influence in the game when it came to possession, but the reactive approach from Janne Andersson’s side proved the more fertile.

Chances were limited, but the better of them fell at Swedish feet.

In something of a war of attrition, as time progressed glimpses of a potential pivotal moment began to shine through, with only poor finishing and good fortune snuffing them out.

However, it was fortune that eventually brought about the winner.

Forsberg was given far too much space at the edge of the box and – having failed to live up to his pre-tournament billing as Sweden’s star attraction – saw his effort deflect wildly off Manuel Akanji into the top corner, sending them into the last eight.

Janne Andersson’s side will face either Colombia or England in the quarter-final on Saturday.

THE STATS

Sweden have qualified for their first World Cup quarter-final since 1994.

Switzerland have never won a World Cup knockout match – suffering elimination in all seven matches, including their last four last-16 games (in 1994, 2006, 2014 and 2018).

Sweden have won back-to-back World Cup matches for the first time since 1958, when they won the quarter-final and semi-final on their way to the final as host nation that year.

This was only Switzerland’s fourth defeat in their last 15 matches at the last four World Cup tournaments, with three of those defeats coming by a 1-0 scoreline.

This defeat was Switzerland’s first since October 2017 when they lost 2-0 to Portugal in a World Cup qualifier, ending a run of nine unbeaten matches.

Sweden kept their third clean sheet in four games at the 2018 World Cup – as many shutouts as they’d recorded in their previous 24 matches combined at the World Cup finals.

Forsberg scored his first World Cup goal for Sweden with his 14th shot of the tournament.

Eight of Sweden’s last nine World Cup goals have been scored in the second half of matches.

Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen has kept three clean sheets at the 2018 World Cup, a joint-record for a Swedish goalkeeper in World Cup finals history (also three clean sheets for Ronnie Hellstrom in 1974 and Karl Svensson in 1958).

Marcus Berg attempted three shots in this match and has now had 13 shots without scoring at the 2018 World Cup, more than any other player.

 

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