Sweden is on to its first World Cup quarterfinal since 1994, with Emil Forsberg's deflected strike the difference in a 1-0 win over Switzerland on Tuesday.
Switzerland, which was hoping for its first return to the quarterfinals since the 1954 World Cup it hosted, couldn't break through Sweden's resolute defense, with Haris Seferovic's attempt to equalize with a late header being saved, sealing the round-of-16 exit. Sweden will face either Colombia or England in hopes of matching its 1994 feat of reaching the semifinals.
The match took some time to pick up momentum as in the first stages it seemed as if Sweden was timing its high press whenever Switzerland had the ball. After five minutes, the Swiss possession took over, especially from the left hand side, but Janne Andersson's attempted to counter by feeding Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen. In the seventh minute, Berg had a great chance to take the lead but his shot was misjudged and went wide. The danger from Sweden was coming, however, as the pressure seemed to be working.
After 15 minutes, the counter seemed to working as Sweden was squeezing its opposition, not allowing Switzerland to spread and utilize the width of the pitch. By this point, the referee was enjoying a quiet game, with no need to discipline anyone.
In the 28th minute, Sweden had another great opportunity and once again it was Berg from inside his the box, but Yann Sommer did well to push it away.
Switzerland had its own set piece to take advantage from, but Ricardo Rodriguez could only send it directly to the Swedish stopper.
In the 40th minute, Forsberg took a free kick and the wall's deflection nearly found its way into the goal, but ultimately it went for a corner. Moments later, Berg had another opportunity to make it 1-0, but again it went high above the bar.
Another chance for Sweden in the 48th minute thanks to a great cross from the left wing went begging, but it was clear the team was feeling more confident. The second half was clearly more open as both sides were creating more chances.
In the 62nd minute, Sweden was awarded a free kick just outside the box thanks to Forsberg's trickery. The RB Leipzig midfielder, however, crossed the ball directly into the Swiss wall and another chance was wasted.
But minutes later, Forsberg didn't hesitate and his inverted run created some space thus giving a chance to shoot from outside the box. A deflection made it 1-0 to Sweden.
With 15 minutes left, Breel Embolo and Seferovic entered the game in order to add more Swiss firepower, as Vladimir Petkovic's side was now desperately hunting for an equalizer.
In the 78th minute, Embolo attempted to tie up the score from a corner but the Swedish defensive unit cleared it away. Time was running out for Switzerland and Sweden was committed to defending the lead. In the 84th minute, Sweden cleared another corner as its opponent kept pushing, but just couldn't find any space.
In the 90th minute, a header from Seferovic was met by the hands of the Swedish stopper and it stayed 1-0. There was a crazy turn of events in the final moments of the game as Michael Lang was sent off for fouling Martin Olsson. At first glance, it appeared it was a penalty, but after the official looked at it again through VAR, and the foul was committed just outside of the box.
At that point, it was just a mere formality, though, as Toivonen's free kick wound up being the last action of the game, as Sweden moves on and Switzerland goes home.
Here were the lineups for both teams:
Here are the rosters for both sides:
Goalkeepers: Karl-Johan Johnsson (Guingamp), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Swansea), Robin Olsen (FC Copenhagen)
Defenders: Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen), Andreas Granqvist (Krasnodar), Filip Helander (Bologna), Pontus Jansson (Leeds), Emil Krafth (Bologna), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Martin Olsson (Swansea)
Midfielders: Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar), Jimmy Durmaz (Toulouse), Albin Ekdal (Hamburger SV), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig), Oscar Hiljemark (Genoa), Sebastian Larsson (Hull City), Marcus Rohden (FC Crotone), Gustav Svensson (Seattle Sounders)
Forwards: Marcus Berg (Al Ain), John Guidetti (Alaves), Isaac Kiese Thelin (Waasland-Beveren), Ola Toivonen (Toulouse)
Manager: Janne Andersson
Goalkeepers: Roman Burki (Borussia Dortmund), Yvon Mvogo (RB Leipzig), Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Borussia Dortmund), Johan Djourou (Antalyaspor), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Michael Lang (FC Basel), Stephan Lichtsteiner (Juventus), Jacques-Francois Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodriguez (AC Milan), Fabian Schar (Deportivo La Coruna)
Midfielders: Valon Behrami (Udinese), Blerim Dzemaili (Bologna), Gelson Fernandes (Eintracht Frankfurt), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Steven Zuber (Hoffenheim), Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Forwards: Josip Drmic (Borussia Monchengladbach), Breel Embolo (Schalke), Mario Gavranovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Haris Seferovic (Benfica)
Manager: Vladimir Petkovic