Sweden Skips Past Swiss, 1-0, Thanks To Forsberg's Moment Of Fortune

Granit Xhaka of Switzerland celebrates scoring a goal

Sweden's Mikael Lustig mocked Granit Xhaka's Albanian eagle celebration in training Credit MB Media

Shy, diminutive and without that distinctive ponytail, Emil Forsberg couldn't be more different than the larger-than-life Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Sweden are through to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1994 after eliminating Switzerland with a 1-0 victory.

INCIDENTS: World Cup last 16 encounter between Sweden and Switzerland at the Saint Petersburg Stadium. "This time round we want to keep up that pressure from the start and I think that is going to happen".

Forsberg was quiet in the group stage but the attacking midfielder's skills and slick movement stood out against Switzerland in an otherwise scrappy game between two of Europe's less-decorated nations.

"It feels quite extraordinary and quite unusual", Sweden coach Janne Andersson said.

"In every part of his game he contributes", said Andersson.

Forsberg struck after 66 minutes of a tight contest in St Petersburg when his shot from the edge of the area was diverted in by Manuel Akanji. The ball was heading straight towards Sommer but took a fortuitous deflection off Akanji and found its way into the back of the net.

Sweden will now play the victor of Tuesday's other round of 16 duel between England and Colombia in Samara on July 7, with a place in the last four at stake. Limited but with a highly effective game plan, the Swedes should not be underestimated.

They are unbeaten in Russian Federation, have scored in every game and a defeat against Portugal last October is the only blemish in an impressive run of results over the past two years.

Isaac Thelin came on and Marcus Berg off as Sweden ran down the clock, and in the last seconds Olsson was fouled by Michael Lang as he burst through, with Lang sent off.

But the call was reversed after the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) showed the handling happened right outside the box, hence a freekick was awarded instead. Much of the pre-tournament talk was over whether they would miss Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who retired from worldwide duty at the end of the 2016 European Championships, but they haven't missed the former Inter Milan and Manchester United striker.

Switzerland, ranked No. 6 in the world, had more possession but failed to carve out any clear-cut chances.

With 10 minutes to go, Embolo had a header scrambled away from nearly on the line by Forsberg who, along with Lustig, was substituted in a double change as time ticked away, Emil Krafth and Martin Olsson coming on.

"We have to be ready to play really from the get-go in such a way to have the initiative on our side", coach Vladimir Petkovic said Monday through an interpreter.

"When they score a goal, it is always extremely hard to crack that tough nut". Sweden did have a few nervous moments - not least when Andreas Granqvist had to make a last ditch clearance in the 80th minute - but the Swiss rarely looked like scoring.

In the first half, Lustig dragged a long-range attempt sideways and it went out for a throw-in. The Swedes, led by Janne Andersson, head into their 50th ever match at the World Cup in high spirits following a 3-0 thrashing of Mexico.

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