World Cup: Mexico 0 Sweden 3 - 5 things you need to know

The Swedes, led by skipper Andreas Granqvist (left), staged a remarkable smash-and-grab raid that would have done their Viking ancestors proud, battering away at Mexico’s suspect set-piece defence and just refusing to let their opponents to settle
The Swedes, led by skipper Andreas Granqvist (left), staged a remarkable smash-and-grab raid that would have done their Viking ancestors proud, battering away at Mexico’s suspect set-piece defence and just refusing to let their opponents to settle into their rhythm in a 3-0 World Cup Group F win on June 28, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

Unheralded Sweden emerged shock 3-0 victors over Mexico on Wednesday (June 27) as they overwhelmed their opponents with a blend of robust physicality and assured defending. A goal from left-back Ludwig Augustinsson got the Swedes rolling before they were awarded their second penalty of the tournament for Hector Moreno's foul on Marcus Berg.

Mexico started the day in pole position for Group F but struggled to deal with Sweden's direct play and were all at sea for the game's third goal when the hapless Edson Alvarez deflected the ball into his own goal.

Here's the lowdown for the game:

1. THE GOALS

Mexico 0 Sweden 3 (Augustinsson 50th, Granqvist pen 62nd, Alvarez (OG) 74th)

2. THE WOW MOMENT

Everyone watching this game waited and waited for Mexico to carve the Swedes open with their superior flair and technical ability... but it never happened. Instead, the Swedes staged a remarkable smash-and-grab raid that would have done their Viking ancestors proud, battering away at Mexico's suspect set-piece defence and just refusing to let their opponents to settle into their rhythm.

3. THE TALKING POINT

No strikers, no problem. Much was made about Sweden lacking a quality hitman in the mould of Henrik Larsson or Zlatan Ibrahimovic going into this World Cup but who needs a frontline when your backline gets you the goals? Sweden's defenders have outscored their forwards by three goals to one so far and it's been a total team effort for the Scandinavians.

4. THE STAR

Andreas Granqvist. The 1.92m, 85kg Swede skipper epitomised everything that went right for his team in this game - effort, physical power and a cool head. This game was a battle in the trenches, the type of match which suited Granqvist's qualities perfectly. His unstoppable penalty into the top left-hand corner ended any real hope of a Mexican victory.

 
 

5. WHAT THE RESULT MEANS

As inconceivable as this may have sounded at the beginning of the day, Sweden finish as group winners with a superior goal difference and head-to-head record to Mexico. They will meet the runners-up of Group E. Despite the humbling defeat, Mexico also move on to the round-of-16 after Germany's shock 0-2 loss to South Korea.