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03rd Jul 2018

Granit Xhaka’s role in Sweden’s winning goal needs to be highlighted

Robert Redmond

Switzerland have been knocked out of the World Cup

The Swiss went into Tuesday’s last-16 tie against Sweden as the slight favourites after some impressive displays in the group stages. They held Brazil to a 1-1 draw, came from behind to beat Serbia with a last-minute goal from Xherdan Shaqiri and then beat Costa Rica 2-1 to advance to the knockout game in St Petersburg.

However, they couldn’t find a way past a stubborn and extremely-well organised Swedish team.

Emil Forsberg’s goal after 66-minutes gave the Scandinavians the win and a place in the quarter-finals against either Colombia or England, who play later on Tuesday.

Sweden had several chances to win the game against Switzerland and were good value for their win. However, they were aided for their goal by some very poor defending from Granit Xhaka.

The Arsenal midfielder scored one of the goals of the tournament in the match against Serbia and is a key player for Switzerland. But he was badly at fault for Forsberg’s goal.

Xhaka dived into a challenge and ended-up opening space for the Swedish midfielder to dribble into and get his shot away, which deflected into the net. Forsberg’s dummy was enough to take Xhaka out of the game.

It was a costly mistake that was completely avoidable, but we perhaps shouldn’t be too surprised.

Last season, he stood on the edge of Arsenal’s penalty area looking at play unfold as Watford scored a last-minute winner against the Gunners. Xhaka appeared to be scratching his nose as Tom Cleverley scored.