Swedes enter quarters for first time in 24 years.
St Petersburg: Sweden reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 24 years after Emil Forsberg’s deflected shot earned a scrappy 1-0 win over Switzerland on Tuesday.
This was far from a classic at the Saint Petersburg Stadium and if Colombia or England’s players were watching on from Moscow, they could be forgiven for feeling bullish about their prospects in the Last Eight.
Switzerland’s Michael Lang was sent off in injury-time for a last-ditch push on Martin Olsson and referee Damir Skomina downgraded his penalty to a free-kick on the edge of the area. But the game was already up.
Forsberg’s second-half strike, which deflected off the unfortunate Manuel Akanji, means Sweden are through to the World Cup last eight for the first time since 1994 in the United States.
Their route to the quarters has not been easy and, what they have lost in the individual brilliance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they appear to have gained in grit, determination and collective spirit. Their next opponents would be foolish to take them lightly.
Rather than let loose, both teams tightened after the interval, and Forsberg’s goal came out of the blue. With space on the edge of the box, his dummy did for Granit Xhaka before the shot was helped in by the outstretched foot of Akanji.
Switzerland twice went close to grabbing an equaliser, as Djourou’s header dribbled agonisingly across the goal-line and substitute Haris Seferovic drew a late save from close range.
Olsson was pushed in the back by Lang with only Sommer to beat in injury-time, with Skomina initially awarding a penalty but changing his decision to a free-kick after he consulted the replay. Lang’s red card stood and Sweden held on.