Switzerland have been beaten 1-0 by Sweden in a low-quality World Cup encounter in St Petersburg. Disappointed fans and journalists admit that the Swiss simply weren’t good enough.
While most of the jokes in the run-up to the game were about Americans being unable to tell the difference between the two sides, the consensus on social media was that it was one of the worst matches of the tournament. Not that that will bother the winners.
But for Swiss fans the disappointment will be all the greater knowing that they will rarely get as good a chance to advance further in a World Cup than they have for 64 years.
The Swiss certainly weren't playing like a team ranked sixth the world and with only one loss in their previous 25 games. In the 66th minute, Emil Forsberg was allowed time to tee up his shot on the edge of the penalty area and, although Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer appeared to have it covered, Swiss defender Manuel Akanji stuck out a foot and deflected it into the corner of the net.
“We’re massively disappointed. That’s a really bitter pill,” Sommer said. “That was a huge chance today. Then you’re sitting in the locker room and the project for which you’ve given so much is simply gone.”
“A team is exposed,” was the verdict of tabloid Blickexternal link, whose front-page headline this morning was “And now blow out the Northern Lights”.
“It’s OK to lose a last-16 match in the World Cup – but not like that,” the paper said. The Swiss had “more talent, more potential and more class – but absolutely none of that was on show. A despondent performance ultimately seriously lacking ideas and inspiration which wasn’t enough for the weakest last-16 match so far. It’s a relapse into a time we thought we had left behind”.
Swiss manager Vladimir Petkovic said his team were too slow and lacked emotion. “Sweden did precisely what they were good at and that was enough to beat us. We should have done things better, but we were not good enough to win this match. We didn’t find any fluidity and we got stuck in the middle,” he said. “Our emotions were playing tricks on us.”
This was another opportunity spurned by the Swiss, who have reached the last 16 in four of the past five World Cups only to be eliminated without scoring a goal.