Sweden secured a place in the World Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, with a hard-fought victory over Switzerland in Saint Petersburg.
Janne Anderson’s side, winners of a group that also contained Mexico, South Korea and defending champions Germany, maintained their strong form in this tournament with a 1-0 win against their fellow Europeans to set up a last-eight clash against either Colombia or England.
After a cagey first half, the deadlock was finally broken midway through the second – albeit in fortuitous circumstances. Sweden, who had enjoyed the best of the chances in the opening 45, took the lead courtesy of Emil Forsberg.
The RB Leipzig midfielder took a shot from the edge of the area that was on course to land safely in the hands of Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer, before a wicked deflection off of defender Manuel Akanji diverted the ball into the corner of the net.
From there, Switzerland started playing with a bit more urgency as they went in search of the equaliser. Vladimir Petkovic brought on Haris Seferovic and Breel Embolo but those two, along with the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Ricardo Rodriguez, had plenty of invention but little to no end product to show for it.
Sweden, for their part, were able to close ranks and play with the same organisation and discipline and discipline that saw them defeat France, Netherlands and Italy en route to Russia, as well as topping their group in the competition itself.
There was, however, time for one bit of VAR drama in stoppage time. The referee had initially awarded Sweden a penalty after Michael Lang was adjudged to have pushed Martin Olsson in the box, for which Lang was sent off. Following consultation with the VAR though, it was brought back to a free kick (though Lang was still sent off), and while Ola Toivonen’s kick was ultimately saved, the final whistle rang out immediately after.
The Scandinavians now move on to the last eight for the first time since 1994, to face the winners of Tuesday night’s clash between Colombia and England.
OMG! Swedish AWESOMENESS!!!!! Through to the World Cup quarter-finals!
— Sweden.se (@swedense) July 3, 2018
— FIFA World Cup ? (@FIFAWorldCup) July 3, 2018
Sweden conquer Switzerland ?? pic.twitter.com/jNsqnKZfWH
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 3, 2018
The magical run continues!
Sweden beat Switzerland 1-0 to move on to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1994. ?? pic.twitter.com/RUedxywNkN
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 3, 2018