Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Switzerland snags a spot in the World Cup round of 16

REUTERS  Marcos Brindicci REUTERS Marcos Brindicci
Shannon Reynolds | 03 July, 2018, 16:48

Substitute Josip Drmic came close to restoring Switzerland's lead with a header that struck the angle of post and crossbar, before a superb individual run from Campbell put Switzerland in trouble and Sommer bailed them out again.

Valon Behrami and talisman Xherdan Shaqiri also played despite walking the same yellow card tightrope, but Petkovic said that he had to make the decisions to ensure that Switzerland would reach the knockout stages.

Switzerland needed just a draw ahead of the game against Costa Rica and with Brazil beating Serbia 2-0, even a loss would have still seen Switzerland through.

Captain Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schaer - who have nearly 150 caps between them - are ruled out of the match on July 3 after both picked up a second yellow card for the tournament on Wednesday.

But this time, the Swiss kept their focus purely on their game and Costa Rica, who had already been eliminated, were able to leave Russian Federation with a modicum of consolation.

Costa Rica had twice hit the woodwork in a frustrating opening 15 minutes of missed chances, but finally scored their first goal in Russian Federation when defender Kendall Waston powered home Joel Campbell's corner in the 56th minute. Kendall Waston tied the game for Costa Rica in the 56th minute.

In the 2014 World Cup, Costa Rica exited unbeaten in open play after their first-ever quarter-final.

A win for Vladimir Petkovic's side would guarantee their place in the last 16, while a draw would likely be enough if Serbia do not beat Group E leaders Brazil.

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This time round Oscar Ramirez's side have failed to register a point or score a goal.

The former Fulham star saw his penalty cannon of the underside of the bar before bouncing of the back of the Sommer's head to seal a stoppage time leveller.

Instead of a ban for a political gesture, which would have kicked in for the Costa Rica match, Federation Internationale de Football Association fined the trio for "unsporting behaviour".

Switzerland twice led Costa Rica before being pegged back.

Costa Rica were not done, though, and were awarded another penalty when Denis Zakaria fouled Joel Campbell - and this time it stood.

And Ruiz was then denied the chance to end his worldwide career with a goal as his spot-kick flew in off Sommer's bonce.

The goalkeeper might have been a candidate for man of the match before the last-gasp penalty by Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruiz was scored as an own goal for Sommer after the ricochet.

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