Switzerland doesn’t want to be caught napping against Sweden

Switzerland doesn’t want to be caught napping against Sweden

Switzerland doesn’t want to be caught napping against Sweden

Only had 22 touches over the 90 minutes.

Switzerland will return home with their dream of a first World Cup quarterfinal appearance since 1954 in tatters.

"They have done precisely what they're very good at", Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic said, "and that might have been enough to beat us".

"If I'm the symbol, I can live with that but this is very much about the team, not about me or any other individual", Andersson said. Switzerland and indeed Sweden did surprise us. They just didn't have the quality to break down the Swedish rearguard; Blerim Dzemaili wasn't almost as impactful with his late runs into the box, and Xhaka seemed to be playing without goal, as he is often criticised for doing at Arsenal. Once here they finished top of a group that included champions Germany.

For Sweden it did. But that is a marginal call and relative to the low quality of this game.

Switzerland could consider itself unlucky to be eliminated by a deflected shot from Emil Forsberg, but it was also a victim of its own overcautious play - a failure to seize control of a match that their lofty ranking suggested they should have won easily.

The Swedes eventually got the breakthrough though in the 66th minute after Emil Forsberg's strike from just outside the box took a deflection off Manuel Akanji and sailed into the back of the net, 1-0. Stout men playing stout - but boring - football.

Bespectacled, thick set and with short, cropped hair, the 55-year-old Andersson has no global profile, although that might be about to change with a quarterfinal against England on Saturday.

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Strength: Unity. When Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired from global football there were questions - not least those posed by the striker himself - about how Sweden would cope without their talisman. Here, though, they tended to snatch at their chances when they came. Berg sent the shot towards the Swiss goal, but the goalkeeper was alert and made the diving stop to deny him.

In a first half of few clear-cut chances, Sweden had the lion's share and went close in the 27th minute when Marcus Berg's strike drew a fine save from Yann Sommer at full-stretch. He was able to get a shot off on the turn, which sprung the Swiss keeper into life as he got down well to make a good save.

That was at least an incident of note but there were not many more in the first half. There was Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri waiting to seize the moment which never arrived. Zuber himself had a chance but headed over.

The best chance of the half fell to Albin Ekdal.

The match began with a fast and frantic energy as both sides pressed but neither nation found the ability to dominate early on, creating a balanced game. Maybe this hints at a weakness at the heart of the Swedish defence.

Eight of Sweden's last nine World Cup goals have been scored in the second half of matches. Tactics include long passes to 6-foot-4 (1.92 meter) striker Ola Toivonen and throw-ins into the penalty area with the hope of flick-ons.

Swedish coach Janne Andersson declined to answer questions whether his team has been underestimated at the World Cup after a scrappy win over Switzerland secured them a spot in the quarter-finals.

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