Sweden send Switzerland packing, book place in World Cup quarter-finals

Granit Xhaka of Switzerland celebrates scoring a goal

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.

But, perhaps a sign of nerves, they were both hugely wasteful as the Swede's and Swiss looked to secure their first World Cup quarter-finals since 1994 and 1954 respectively.

Albin Ekdal also volleyed over twice.

At the other end, Blerim Dzemaili wasted Switzerland's best chance when he fired over from 12 metres, while Xherdan Shaqiri had a bad day at the office, sending several diagonal balls from the wing sailing over the heads of his team-mates.

The gritty Swiss team that battled back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Brazil in the group stage, the emotionally charged team that registered the first come-from-behind win of this World Cup in its next match when it beat Serbia 2-1 didn't show up in St. Petersburg. "The fact that they are staying on after the game, calling out and shouting my name, just makes you want to go out and thank them". Then, in the second half, Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka lined up a shot from outside the area and very almost whiffed.

Both the Swedes and Swiss went into the game at Saint Petersburg Stadium knowing that their side of the World Cup last 16 draw had opened up to provide a golden opportunity for an unfancied team to reach the final.

In a match where the level of finishing was poor, Emil Frosberg's deflected strike from distance in the second half proved to be the difference and set up a last-eight encounter with either England or Colombia on July 7.

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Sweden are unbeaten in their last three games against Switzerland (W1 D2) although their last encounter was in March 2002 (1-1).

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.

He scored what turned out to be the match-winner, but Forsberg was crucial to the way Sweden played against a Switzerland side who dominated the majority of the possession.

So he did, emerging back out from the dressing room with captain Andreas Granqvist to applaud the block of supporters who had been the most vocal throughout the 1-0, round-of-16 win over Switzerland on Tuesday.

Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez also missed a sitter in the 32nd minute from a free-kick but Olsen, the Sweden keeper held on. We clearly wanted to do more. We know that we are a good team and that we have earned our successes.

"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".

"We've been very fortunate so far, that is true, but what we've seen throughout the tournament is that in spells we have been playing very well", Petkovic said on the eve of the match. But we need to digest this quickly as we have another game coming up soon, on Saturday. Find us on Facebook too!

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