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Sweden beat Switzerland 1-0, advance to quarter-finals

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Sweden beat Switzerland 1-0, advance to quarter-finals

Sweden beat Switzerland 1-0, advance to quarter-finals
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REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
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Sweden is through to the World Cup quarter-finals after a 1-0 victory over Switzerland.

A deflected goal from Emil Forsberg gave Sweden their victory after a tight game with Switzerland. The first half lacked quality and although Sweden created a couple of chances they couldn't score. The best of the chances fell to Albin Ekdal as his volley from 6 yards out flew over the bar.

The second half of the game continued in a similar way as neither side really created anything clear-cut, but the breakthrough came when Emil Forsberg cut inside and his tame strike was deflected into the top corner by Manuel Akanji.

The Swiss struggled to create anything in reply but their best chance came through Haris Seferovic whose header was saved by Robin Olsen. Sweden seemed to have the game wrapped up but there was still time for some late drama. A counter-attack from the Swedes led to Martin Olsen being played through on goal. He was then pushed in the back by Michael Lang whom the referee gave a red card and a penalty for Sweden. However, when VAR got involved the penalty was overturned, a free kick was given in its place. The free-kick was pushed away by Yann Sommer but that didn't bother Sweden as the whistle blew for full time and they progressed to the quarter-final.

Five things we learned

Swedish resilience

Sweden is starting to turn heads around the World Cup, they may not be the easiest on the eye but they are difficult to play against. They stifled the Swiss for large portions and didn't concede many chances at all, and considering they held a very talented Mexico attacking line in the group stages they are certainly not going to be a team that is easy to beat going forward.

Shaqiri stifled

Xherdan Shaqiri is Switzerland's talisman, but he struggled to make an impact in the game against Sweden. Shaqiri did show a few moments of quality and you could sense that the more he got the ball, the more chances the Swiss had of scoring. The problem was that Switzerland struggled to get the ball to him. Whether that is because of his performance or because of how well Sweden defended is up for debate, but one thing is for sure, a stellar performance from Shaqiri would likely have been enough to win the game for Switzerland and that did not happen.

VAR working again

When the referee went over to check the penalty he had awarded to Sweden it was hardly the most crucial of decisions, it was probably the last play of the game and Sweden were already 1-0 up. But when he overturned the penalty and signalled it would be a free kick, he also pointed to the red card he had awarded Michael Lang that still stood. The decision itself may not have been vital but the process was, this was a demonstration of VAR showing exactly how it should be used.

Football isn't always great

In truth, the game itself wasn't brilliant, it lacked quality for large periods and there wasn't a great deal of intensity. Fans won't often put up with poor games and this was no different — with many describing the game as boring. But there were chances and if the finishing had been better we could have seen three or four goals. All in all was the game good? No. But it was by no means the worst, and that's the positive to take.

The quarters are nearly here

The last game of the first knockout round is nearly upon us, England face Colombia and we know that the winner will face Sweden. The tournament is really flying past now and very soon we will know all of the quarter-finals. What we can take from this game is that Sweden will be there and they won't go down without a fight.