It was a great chance for Switzerland to progress to the quarter final stage for the first time since 1954. But, in the end, it was Sweden who did the same, their second quarter final berth since the runner-up trophy in 1958.
Sweden vs Switzerland – key events:
Sweden XI (4-4-2): Robin Olsen; Ludwig Augustinsson, Andreas Granqvist, Victor Lindelof, Mikael Lustig (Emil Krafth, 82′); Emil Forsberg (Martin Olsson, 82′), Albin Ekdal, Gustav Svensson, Viktor Claesson; Ola Toivonen, Marcus Berg (Isaac Thelin, 90′).
Switzerland XI (4-2-3-1): Yann Sommer; Ricardo Rodriguez, Manuel Akanji, Johan Djourou, Michael Lang; Granit Xhaka, Valon Behrami; Steven Zuber (Breel Embolo, 73′), Blerim Dzemaili (Haris Seferovic, 73′), Xherdan Shaqiri; Josip Drmic.
Goal: Forsberg (66′).
Yellow card: Lustig (31′), Behrami (61′), Xhaka (68′).
Red card: Lang (90’+3′).
Switzerland talisman Xherdan Shaqiri started the day with a good chance in the very first minute, but he could not capitalize on that one. Sweden also tried to trouble the opponents with some quick attacks and shots, but they also failed to find the breakthrough. For most parts of the first half, the Swiss players maintained more possession, but first few good chances came in the other way.
Around the half-hour mark, Sommer had to pull off a great save to keep the score level. Eight minutes later, a brilliant one-two with Zuber handed Dzemaili with an opportunity to take the lead. But the shot was always rising and missed the target by yards. It was a fascinating run of events around that time, and Sweden got their best chance of the half at the 42nd minute. This time, an unmarked Ekdal was at the end of a Lustig cross, but he could not convert it, to the utter surprise of the fans. In the end, it remained goalless as the two teams went to the break.
The second half was a similar affair, with both sides creating repeated chances. But the attackers were not in a good touch. Eventually, it was Sweden who managed to draw the first blood. Forsberg got the ball just outside the box and he took a touch before trying his luck with a powerful shot. Unfortunately for the Swiss, the ball got deflected off Akanji and reached the back of the nets, leaving Sommer completely helpless.
After the goal, Sweden’s resilient defense was given more motivation. And Switzerland’s lack of creativity in the middle helped them by and large. Only during the stoppage time, a header from substitute Seferovic could draw a good save from Olsen. And then, from a quick counter, Sweden were about to get their second. Lang had no option but to push the attacker and he was given marching order rightly. That freekick right outside the box was the last action from the game, and it finished in a 1-0 win for Sweden. They will face the winner of the Colombia-England match.