European middleweights Sweden and Switzerland came together with the Blagult narrowly prevailing 1-0 over their dominant Swiss opponents in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday night.

What Happened

The seventh game of the Round of 16 saw surprise Group F winners Sweden facing up against second place in Group E Switzerland in an all-European knockout match and it proved to be a hard-fought match in Saint Petersburg.

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Switzerland controlled the game from the outset holding the ball and looking for a patient approach to the Swedish defence.

While the Swiss held up the ball Sweden chased relentlessly and looked dangerous on the counter attack narrowly missing some good chances in the first half.

The deciding goal came ten minutes into the second half when Emil Forsberg worked some space at the top of the box and sent in a low effort that took a heavy deflection off Manuel Akanji’s foot and bounced up into the top left corner.

Switzerland looked determined to get one back but a late red card to Michael Lang dashed all hope of a late equaliser as the game ended with Sweden moving on to the next round.

Standout Performances

  1. Emil Forsberg was once again the star for Sweden creating a number of chances and finding the winner for his side.
  2. Andreas Granqvist was a rock in defence once more and has been a strong leader throughout the tournament.
  3. Granit Xhaka may not have had his best performance but the Arsenal man looked to inspire his side sending in some potent long efforts looking to craft a bit of Swiss magic.

Talking Points

Switzerland came into the FIFA World Cup as the sixth ranked team in the world and in looking at the stats from the clash they appeared to dominated the game with 68% of possession, more that twice as many passes and six more shots but Vladimir Petkovic’s side failed to really test Robin Olsen in goal.

What’s Next

After England’s first ever World Cup penalties triumph Gareth Southgate’s side booked a place in the Quarter Finals and Sweden will be hoping they can be the team to stop the Three Lions who are building up a bit of steam moving through the tournament.

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The early dismissal from the tournament means Switzerland have still never won an elimination game in the FIFA World Cup.

Needs Work

Sweden claimed a victory that while not undeserving was not claimed with ease and a little fortune helped them push the game over the line. Coming up against England the Swedes will need to be a little more tactile in their approach.

A strong 3-0 victory over Mexico in the group stages will needed to be looked upon for inspiration as Sweden looked unstoppable countering the dynamic Central American’s and a similar performance could push a result over the line against the Englishmen.

Goal of the Match

An easy choice with just the one to choose from, Forsberg’s well worked long effort took an lucky deflection from Akanji’s boot into Switzerland’s top left corner.

Miss of the Match

Sweden should have gone ahead earlier on in the game when Albin Ekdal’s missed a volley put on a silver platter from Mikael Lustig’s perfect ball into the middle.

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Recent Sports Media graduate from the University of Canberra. Love all things football and can't wait to be part of the growth of the game in Australia. Waiting for the day the FFA come to their senses and hand us an A-League team... but could be waiting a while.