Sweden beat Switzerland (1-0) and qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup, thanks to a happy goal from Forsberg. Switzerland woke up way too late and missed its eighth final.
Eighth in the most unlikely final of the set, Sweden-Switzerland was also the most open. First in her group ahead of Mexico, Sweden was not favourite according to the FIFA ranking (Switzerland is 6th, Sweden 24th), but it was Sweden who created the best chances at the start of the match, taking full advantage of the good technical relationship between Toivonen and Berg. Perfectly launched by the first, the second was harvesting the action by sending his strike in the stands (8′). In the aftermath, Sommer missed his raise but Berg was blocked in extremis by a defenseman while Ekdal ended the high point with a powerful but un-timed shot (9′). The Nati struggled to get into the match, like Shaqiri, who was always looking for the centre. He finally found a face in the 24th minute, Zuber’s, that didn’t fit.
Without developing a licked game, the Blagults managed to be dangerous on the counter, notably by using the back-to-goal game of a rather inspired Toivonen, while Berg put Sommer to work on a new shot, framed this one (28′) that forced the doorman to a spectacular stop. The Swiss would react with a well-built opportunity between Zuber and Dzemaili, a double one-two, which ended up with a shot from the second, which was too far removed (38′). There were many efforts made by Petkovic’s men to advance collectively on the ground, but fewer opportunities in the end than for those of Andersson, who were once again close to opening the scoring. On an ideal Centre from Lustig to the second post, Ekdal missed himself, choosing the volley cover rather than the diving head, while he was alone against the goal (42′). 0-0 at the break then, but a lively match.
Forsberg unblocks the meeting
On the way back from the dressing rooms, Sweden started at the same pace, moving quickly forward. Following an issue of Forsberg, Augustinsson addressed a good center that deserved better (49′). The Nati replied with a good sequence of possession but still struggled to bring the danger closer to the opposing goalkeeper, Olsen. The minutes passed, so, and inevitably, every move became more and more important. Is that why we saw less real risk-taking ? Probably. But Sweden was finally going to open up, with the hint of luck often needed in this kind of situation. Forsberg, back from the changing rooms with better arrangements, was found by Toivonen. Feint of hitting to get in good conditions and shooting … failed, full axis, finally deflected by the foot of the unfortunate Akanji, which deceived Sommer, nailed on the spot (1-0, 66′).
The Swedish fans could exult in the stands and start to claim the final whistle. In the aftermath, Ekdal offered himself a nice chaining and a shot, above (68′). And the Swiss will tell me ? Well, strangely, not much. The Nati was missing her date, not really managing to step up the pressure. Only Rodriguez seemed to have the necessary hargne and increased the number of climbs and centres. The changes of Petkovic (entrances of Embolo and Seferovic) did not change anything. The Swedish defence pushed everything back without trembling (except on a head of Seferovic out of Olsen). We were even close to 2-0 when the referee named the penalty point for a foul by Lang, as the last defender (and therefore excluded), on Olsson (coming into play), before changing his mind with the help of the VAR. The 1-0 was more than enough for Janne Andersson and his men, who validate their ticket to the quarterfinals, where they will meet the winner of the Colombia-England match.
The man of the game : Emil Forsberg (7,5): two separate half-times. In the first one, he was like his World Cup so far: little in sight, with some waste and a lot of slowness in the transmissions. He had to get moved at the break because he came back with a lot more envy and gnaque. Dribbles, accelerations at the heart of the game, and a real relay for its partners. In the end, it was He who unlocked the situation, with a bit of luck since his shot, too centered, was deflected by Akanji to fool Sommer. As a defensive bonus, a save almost on his line (80′). His best performance since the start of the World Cup final. Replaced by Olsson in the 82nd minute.