In the worst last 16 match by far a deflected shot from Emil Forsberg was enough to see Sweden into the quarter-finals with a 1-0 win. It was a game largely devoid of any attacking talent, but no shortage of hard work.
The game started out at quite a slow pace, with Switzerland looking to get on top. However, Sweden were set on keep Shaqiri off the ball and that tactic played out perfectly in the first half. The “magic dwarf” was largely invisible throughout the first 45 minutes.
Sweden had the best two chances of the half. The first fell to Marcus Berg on his right foot, but he lashed well wide. The second was a poor effort from Albin Ekdal. A beautiful cross from Mikael Lustig picked him out but he hit a horrible shot when a header was the better option.
A more open second half produced slightly more entertaining fare. Shaqiri was able to get the ball in pockets, but still failed to produce anything of note. As the top remaining seed in this half of the table Switzerland would have been hoping to make a run to the final. But Sweden maintain composure, and in truth were barely troubled.
The Swedish breakthrough finally came in the 66th minute when an extremely tame shot from Forsberg, that was heading harmlessly for the gloves of Jan Sommer was cruelly deflected into the back of the net. Akanji had no choice but to play it, but he sliced it into the top corner.
Despite lots of huffing and puffing Switzerland could create only one quality chance. A late header from substitute Haris Seferovic produced a fine save from Robin Olsen.
Sweden Into The Quarter-finals
It was a very poor spectacle, but Sweden won’t care one bit. There were 30 shots in the game, with only 7 on target, and this performance is unlikely to scare either Colombia or England. However, Sweden will be very hard to beat as they have proven all tournament. It won’t be a pretty quarter-final, but you can be guaranteed that Sweden will be in it all the way to the final whistle.