Sweden v Switzerland preview
Switzerland takes on Sweden at the Krestovsky Stadium on Tuesday afternoon with a place in the World Cup quarter-finals up for grabs.
The Swiss head into the last-16 clash having finished runners-up to Brazil in Group E and are unbeaten so far in the tournament.
In fact, Vladimir Petkovic’s side has risen to sixth in the latest FIFA world rankings on the back of an impressive recent run of just one loss in their last 25 games, an eye-catching form that has not surprised striker Josip Drmic.
“These figures are no coincidence,” he said.
“We’ve fought hard for this status over the last few months.”
Sweden boss Janne Andersson knows just what a tough test his players will face in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.
“It’s a situation again where we have to reach our personal best, I know I keep on repeating it but I think it’s a very good description on what is needed from us both as individuals and as a team,” the Sweden head coach said.
“We need to reach our absolute highest level, then we will have the chance to beat Switzerland as well.”
Sweden will be without the experienced Sebastian Larsson, who misses the game due to suspension.
The AIK midfielder could be replaced by Seattle Sounders’ Gustav Svensson or Genoa’s Oscar Hiljemark.
Switzerland, meanwhile, will be without centre-back Fabian Schar and right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner, with both players serving one-game bans.
As a result, either former Arsenal central defender Johan Djourou or Nico Elvedi will replace Schar, while Michael Lang is expected to come in for the Swiss skipper.
This will be the 29th meeting between Sweden and Switzerland but the first ever at a major tournament (World Cup + Euro)
Sweden are unbeaten in their last three games against Switzerland (W1 D2) although their last encounter was in March 2002 (1-1).
The Swiss’ last victory came in October 1994 in a Euro qualifier in Bern (4-2), it was under Roy Hodgson
Since finishing as runners-up on home soil in 1958, Sweden have progressed past the second round of the World Cup on only one occasion, it was in 1994 when they finished third
Sweden have never won back to back World Cup matches outside of their own country – they did so twice in 1958 as host nation but haven’t accomplished it in any of their other 11 tournaments including this one.
This will be Sweden’s 50th game at the World Cup, becoming the 11th team to reach that tally.
Only Mexico have featured in more games without ever winning the tournament.
Switzerland last made it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 1954 when the tournament was held on home soil.
Since then, they have always been knocked out whenever they’ve reached the round of 16 (1994, 2006, 2014), not scoring a single goal in any of those three games.