Solid Sweden outsmart the Swiss

Switzerland star Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates

Switzerland star Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates

Winger Emil Forsberg's second-half strike helped Sweden beat Switzerland 1-0 to enter the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup after a gap of 24 years.

The Swiss finished the game with 10 men after Michael Lang was sent off for pulling down Martin Olsson as he raced through on goal.

The referee initially pointed to the spot, only to overturn his original decision after consulting the VAR system.

The only disappointment for Sweden was a first-half booking picked up by Mikael Lustig, ruling the defender out of a last-eight clash against either Colombia or England in Samara on Saturday. Switzerland will be without right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner and central defender Fabian Schar while Sweden midfielder Sebastian Larsson is also out after picking up two yellow cards in the competition's first phase.

That proved the final act of the game as the Swedes held on to reach the last eight for the first time since 1994.

The teams went into the interval locked in a goalless stalemate, with Sweden just about shading their opponents in terms of the quality of the few clear chances created.

The Swiss had suffered just one defeat in their last 25 matches - a defeat to my beloved Portugal in the qualifiers, which meant that the Portuguese qualified for the tournament automatically while Switzerland had to progress via a play-off against Northern Ireland, which was won through a controversial penalty.

Coach Vladimir Petkovic conceded that Switzerland have been fortunate enough to reach this stage of the tournament but insisted that they will hit peak form against Sweden in St. Petersburg.

However, Sweden lacked the finish even when they did get into good positions as Berg and Albin Ekdal fired horribly off target before the break.

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History is beckoning for the No. 6-ranked Swiss team.

Throughout the first half, Shaqiri looked the likeliest player to unlock the stubborn Swedes with a moment of magic. Marcus Berg found himself in a great position after being played in by an Ola Toivonen flick but he sliced wide.

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.

Sweden claimed a ragged 1-0 win over Switzerland to book a quarter final berth at Russian Federation 2018.

So he did, emerging back out from the dressing room with captain Andreas Granqvist to applaud the block of supporters who had been the most vocal throughout the 1-0, round-of-16 win over Switzerland on Tuesday.

Overall, though, Switzerland are still a team very much on the up. We all work so hard for each other on and off the pitch.

"We're not satisfied with this: we want to win the next match as well".

"We're so focused on what we're doing right now that I don't think I'm taking any of this in".

A low-quality match featured some of the worst finishing seen so far at the World Cup, and two efforts stood out.

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