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Sweden win scrappy Swiss encounter to reach World Cup quarter-finals

04 July, 2018, 02:43 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Ludwig Augustinsson celebrates scoring for Sweden

And while they have had a number of highly distinguished players to don the famous yellow and blue of Sweden in recent decades - notably Henrik Larsson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic - the match against Switzerland was not the riveting affair fitting for their half-century milestone.

Sweden started off their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over South Korea as their captain Andreas Granqvist scored from the spot.

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 topped a group including defending champions Germany.

They are certainly not known as a perennial powerhouse in world football, but Sweden have had their moments on the grant stage, notably their World Cup final meeting with Brazil on home soil in 1958, though a Pele masterpiece was the main talking point 60 years ago.

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Janne Anderson's reconfigured side were the better team throughout this contest against an very bad Switzerland team. Now the duo will be expected to step up again, especially when they are up against a stern Swedish backline that has only conceded two goals in the competition so far.

Had Sweden taken their chances Marcus Berg would have netted in the seventh minute instead of blasting high and wide.

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Former Denmark goalkeeper Schmeichel said the nature of the goal was somewhat fortunate, as Swiss 'keeper Yann Sommer had the ball covered.

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The closest they came was a Haris Seferovic header well saved by Robin Olsen in second half stoppage time, but for all their willingness to throw numbers forward, they still never really got in behind Sweden's defense.

When Forsberg did score, in the 66th minute, his goal was a hugely deserved one.

He was canny, clever, capable of frightening the life out of Vladimir Petkovic's side - and he did.

At the other end, Blerim Džemaili 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.

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That was the first major tournament for many of us, knockout matches have a lot to do with experience and can be complicated. Belgium's second string beat England's second string in a game that no one was entirely sure they wanted to win.

The Swedes were denied a chance to double their lead deep into injury time, when a penalty was initially awarded by referee Damir Skomina when Swiss defender Michael Lang pushed over Martin Olsson with the Swede bearing down on goal.

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