Sweden Moves To 2018 World Cup Quarterfinals With Win Over Switzerland
on Jul 06, 2018 07:10 AM EDT
Sweden punched a ticket into the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup 2018 on Tuesday with a 1-0 triumph over Switzerland in Saint Petersburg.
Emil Forsberg, who has been heavily criticized for his poor showing in Russia, powered Sweden to victory with a deflected goal in the 66th minute. The win puts the Swedes in the quarterfinals for the first time in 24 years. The last time they made it that far was in the 1994 World Cup.
Forsberg Finally Delivers For Sweden
Forsberg's first World Cup goal erased the memory of his past poor performances in the tournament. Before the event, Forsberg was billed as Sweden's main attraction after the retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but he failed to deliver on that promise in the group stages.
Confident that Forsberg will not be an offensive threat, Switzerland gave the Sweden forward too much space at the edge of the box. Luckily for Forsberg, his attempt deflected off center back Manuel Akanji into the top corner of the goal.
"It brings tears to my eyes and makes me so proud," the 26-year-old Forsberg says about his goal.
In the last eight, the Swedes will take on England, which went through the proverbial eye of the needle before making it to the quarterfinals. England defeated Colombia via penalty shootout to book a spot in the quarterfinals.
Disappointing Finish For Switzerland
It was a disappointing finish for the Swiss, who were ranked No. 6 after winning 24 of their past 25 matches. They had an opportunity to knot the score in the latter part of the contest, but Remo Freuler's header was saved by Robin Olsen.
Worse, the Swiss were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time after right back Michael Lang was given a red card for a foul on Martin Olsson. Initially, the referee wanted to award Sweden a penalty kick, but he changed it to a free kick following a video review.
With the loss, Switzerland once again failed to make it to the last eight. The last time the Swiss made it to the quarterfinals was in 1954. Also, they have not won a knockout game in any competition since 1938.
"We shouldn't compare this match with the others. We simply weren't good enough against Sweden," Switzerland head coach Vladimir Petkovic explains. "It's extremely disappointing as we wanted to reach the quarterfinals, but with hindsight I'm very proud of my team. They made it out of a difficult group."
The Swiss were bunched together with Brazil, Serbia, and Costa Rica in Group E. They settled for a 1-1 draw with Brazil before beating Serbia, 2-1. They booked a spot in the knockout stage with a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica.