World Cup: Sweden 1 Switzerland 0 - 5 things you need to know

Sweden's midfielder Emil Forsberg (centre) celebrates with team mates (from left) John Guidetti, Gustav Svensson and Albin Ekdal after scoring.
Sweden's midfielder Emil Forsberg (centre) celebrates with team mates (from left) John Guidetti, Gustav Svensson and Albin Ekdal after scoring.PHOTO: AFP

After the high octane entertainment dished out by Japan and Belgium in an earlier round of 16 clash, it was a more sedate encounter between Sweden and Switzerland in St. Petersburg with the Swedes winning 1-0 and reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 1994. Despite having Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, who both have an eye for goal, the Swiss tumble out after Sweden's superb defending rendered them toothless.

1. The goal

Sweden (Emil Forsberg 66th minute)

2. The wow moment

In a match full of grunt but short of entertainment, it was left to a moment of daring to make the difference. Hailed as the best player of a new generation in Sweden, Forsberg danced across the Switzerland box before finding space to pull the trigger. Manuel Akanji stuck out his right boot to clear but only succeeded in deflecting the ball past Yann Sommer for the winner.

3. The talking point

They are not fancied at all but Sweden are now one of the form teams at this World Cup. And major credit has to go to their defence, which has conceded just twice (in the 1-2 loss to Germany). Only Brazil and Uruguay (one conceded) boast a superior record. Janne Andersson has drilled his back four relentlessly and the unit is helped by midfielders and forwards who press from the front. Sure, they do not have a superstar in their ranks but tournaments can be won with great defences.

4. The star

The international retirement of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has left a void in the Sweden team but Forsberg has stepped up to the plate. While he may not have the same outrageous skills, the younger man's selfless playmaking has brought together a side that relies more on collective work ethic than its previous approach of just passing the ball to Ibrahimovic.

5. What the result means

The Swedes will rejoice in reaching the last eight for the first time in 24 years. They will meet either England or Colombia and they can count on a fortress at the back to give them a firm footing in the quarter-final. As for the Swiss, they had 63 per cent possession and four shots on target but could not make a single one count. They will head home wondering how to break down this Swedish wall.