Sweden 1 Switzerland 0 FT
In the World Cup where it’s been all about the underdogs in a round of 16 matchups between two unlikely teams to get to the stage. An underdog battle with a quarter finals place at stake in the round of 16. We have seen similar battles between a pair of dark horses in the past the one that comes to mind most is in 2002 we saw quarter final battle between Senegal and Turkey a pair of teams who weren’t even expected to make it out of the group. This year and the round of 16 we saw Sweden go up against Switzerland with a place in the quarter-finals at stake. Both teams had World Cup contenders in their groups and were still able to make it out. No one really believed these two teams could get to the stage but they proved the critics wrong. It would be the Swiss defense against the attacking prowess of Emil Forsberg and Sweden. It turned out that’s Sweden was not in need of legendary Swedish Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Sweden got past Switzerland to make their first quarter final appearance since 2002. This Sweden team will be huge underdogs in the quarterfinals but if they get hot you never know what can happen. Tremendous job getting out of a very tough group and taking care of business getting themselves into a quarter finals wish they were unable to do in two tries with Ibrahimovic. This team proved you don’t need a superstar to make a run in the World Cup you need a team and as underrated as they may be Sweden has a team.
Both Sweden and Switzerland ended up with two of the favorites to win the World Cup in their group. Sweden was in probably the second most challenging group in the World Cup. Headlining that was defending Champions Germany still viewed as one of the favorites to win the World Cup. Their group also included Mexico and South Korea who have a fair amount of quality players in their own right. South Korea has Spurs Superstar Son Min Mexico has Rising Star Chucky Lozano and seasonal International Chicharito Hernandez. Sweden does have Emil Forsberg of RB Leipzig. He’s a very very good player however had never played in the World Cup before and lacked experience going into this tournament. Germany and Mexico where the clear favorites to come out of the group as most people felt that Sweden was an afterthought and didn’t really have the resources to challenge the group and qualify. In their opening game again South Korea it was a game in which both teams needed to win given the fact that they still had to play Mexico and Germany. It was a very even match throughout but Sweden ended up getting a penalty in the second half and found the back of the net in what turned out to be the winning goal as Sweden stole points from South Korea as both teams play tremendously well. This would set things up perfectly as they face Germany in their next match which almost gave them the Leverage to lose that game given the fact that they already had collected their points and Germany had lost their opening game to Mexico. In their second game against Germany the world expected Germany to finally show itself after Germany’s abysmal performance against Mexico. Despite Germany being heavy favorites and the defending champions. Sweden continued to surprise everyone. Sweden ended up scoring in the second half to give themselves the lead. Germany was now on the verge of elimination if they didn’t get at least a point there will be no chance of qualifying to The Knockout rounds. Despite how well Sweden played Germany was not ready to go home yet. Marco Reus equalized in the second half then at the death of the match Germany got a free kick at the death as Toni Kroos curled a superb free-kick into the top corner to give Germany the win leaving Sweden Godsmacked having blown a chance to qualify for The Knockout rounds. This caused it to come down to the final match of this group with a Germany loss they would still advance but Sweden really needed a point to insure themselves in the round of 16. They ripped through a Mexico team who completely blew their chance to win the group as Mexico were unmotivated. Sweden went after it as the swedes cruised to a three-goal victory. Sweden got out of a very difficult group. Switzerland group wasn’t that hard but there were a few teams in there that were going to be very difficult an underrated Serbia team favorites Brazil and Costa Rica being in their group as well. Switzerland is known for their excellent defense even when they lose if usually by only one goal. They kicked off the World Cup against Brazil the most challenging team in their group. Brazil got off to a good start in that game with Countinho scoring one of the best goals of the entire world cup. However Brazil struggled the rest of the way has Switzerland got their equalizer despite being pretty weak in their attack they got the goal they needed. As Switzerland got an excellent point to kick off the World Cup largely due to their goal keeping abilities of Sommer. In the next game of the group they played against Serbia which was a back-and-forth game a game in which they didn’t play that well but at the death of the match shaqiri scored the winning goal. Giving them the three points putting them in really good position to advance through the group stage. They drew their last match against Costa Rica as Switzerland got second.
After the group stage fellow underdogs Sweden and Switzerland battled for a place in the quarter-finals. This would be a huge deal for their countries because nobody expected them to be in position to make the last eight of the World Cup. I mean I suppose you could have made the argument that at least one of them was going to be in a knockout game at this world cup but for both of them to be in position to get the quarterfinals was very surprising. It was going to be a very even match on paper there wasn’t a clear favorites for who was going to win this game it was as up in the air as it gets. Switzerland definitely had the better defense and Sweden had the better attack this game turned out to be one of the few games that did not go into extra-time. It was a very competitive a even match up with no real clear picture of who is going to win the game Sweden’s Emil Forsberg was excellent and several times early Sweden looked like they were on the verge of scoring. Switzerland defense just look Flawless throughout the game. But in terms of the attack Switzerland were really struggling to get anything going Shaqiri did some nice things occasionally but it just wasn’t happening for them offensively. While Sweden was really pressurizing the Switzerland goal and it was only going to be a matter of time before they broke through. Despite Switzerland’s best efforts defensively and another exceptional performance by Sommer Sweden ultimately broke through. As Forsberg found the back of the net to give Sweden the 1-0 lead in the second half. Switzerland tried their best to get a goal back and their desire to extend into extra time but it just did not happen for them as Sweden advanced to the quarter-finals despite a valiant defensive effort from Switzerland. Sweden make their first quarter finals since the 2002 World Cup despite the retirement of Swedish Legend Ibrahimovic they were able to get past and gritty Switzerland Team without him. Sweden will face off against England in the quarter finals England will be big favorites but all it takes is to get hot and Sweden can get hot maybe they have a chance. I still think that England has just too much quality to deal with and they ultimately will get to the semi-final. However England can be inconsistent and I don’t think a Sweden win is out of the question it will be very difficult for the swedes to handle what England can do coming forward with Harry Kane. But if Sweden execute a game plan that caters to England’s weaknesses the Swedish Fish may be able to pull it off. In reality Sweden will have to do a lot but with this is the World Cup anything can happen.