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WORLD CUP 2018: Forsberg strike clinches Sweden win over Switzerland

Sweden claimed a ragged 1-0 win over Switzerland to book a quarter final berth at Russia 2018.

Both sides clashed for the first time in 15 years in a game that was filled with high stakes and pride.

Switzerland have failed to score in the knockout stages of the World Cup since 1954, while Sweden aimed for their first quarter final since 1994.

Janne Andersson's side looked to capitalise on Switzerland's habits of a slow start with off-target warning shots fired in the opening stages.

The Swiss shook off the cagey start to drastically improve their team play and positioning, but they had only themselves to blame for wayward crosses and shots as displayed by Xhaka and Shaqiri.

Despite the intimidating presence of Swedish striker Marcus Berg, the Swiss did well to disrupt Sweden's rhythm and keep the ball to themselves, yet their continuous attacking proved fruitless.

Sweden were also guilty of missed chances, a golden opportunity fell to the feet of an unmarked Ekdal who blasted his shot high in what was the easiest chance of the half.

The half ended with a lack of real bite from either side in the final third, the few chances never truly threatening either goalkeeper.

Switzerland were keen to atone for their mistakes in the first half, and it was the Swede's turn for a slow start. The second period opened with the Swiss turning up the heat in search of a goal.

Rodgriguez constantly made a nuisance of himself down the flanks, his efforts causing Sweden headaches as they did their best to not be caught out on defence.

The game finally saw a breakthrough as Emil Forsberg's effort on the edge of the box took a slight deflection to give him his first goal for the tournament.

Sweden's approach took a relaxed turn as they were in no hurry to close out the game, yet still wary of what became a frantic Swiss side.

Shaqiri found it difficult to impose himself late in the game as the Swedes anticipated the cut back onto his left. His 78th minute corner had Swedish hearts pounding as the ball was cleared dangerously close to the goal line.

Switzerland's frustration mounted after a desperate attack resulted in a penalty and a red card for Michael Lang on a swift counterattack. Lang was adjudged to have pushed Martin Olsson inside the area, but after VAR intervention the foul was changed to a free kick yet Lang's dismissal stood firm.

Sweden may have won on the day, but they will need some serious improvement if they are to progress to the semi-finals.

Switzerland have failed to score in the knockout stages of the World Cup since 1954, and they'll be going home ruing their inability to finish their chances.



WORLD CUP - ROUND OF 16

Sweden - 1 (Forsberg 66')

Switzerland - 0

Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg

About the author

Chris Sermeno

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