Switzerland qualified for the last 16 knockout stage remaining unbeaten in Group E after a draw in the Switzerland Vs Costa Rica match on Wednesday night in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Russia.
The Extra-time equalizer, an own-goal from goalkeeper Yann Sommer denied all three points as the Swiss were held to a 2-2 draw in the Switzerland Vs Costa Rica and denying a possible chance of topping Group E. Switzerland finished the group stages with five points qualifying for the last 16 round with second spot behind Brazil. Costa Rica finished last in Group E with only one point and played their last game in Russia.
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Costa Rica came into the Switzerland Vs Costa Rica fixture with no point and no goal till then in Russia by unfortunate defeats against Brazil and Serbia. A nothing to loose situation served them well in their final fixture where they succeeded to score two goals and earning a point to give something to cheer for back to the fans.
Switzerland on other hand were in contention of top place with four points alongside the Selecao, who were battling out Serbia in the other fixture of the group and profited from Serbia’s 1-2 defeat against Brazil. Both Brazil and Switzerland now have qualified for the Round Of 16 from Group E.
Vladimir Petkovic made two changes to the squad that beat Serbia in their previous match. Goal scorer against Brazil and man in form Steven Zuber was surprisingly dropped out for promising youngster Embolo Breel and as expected striker Haris Seferovic was replaced by Gavranovic. Controversial duo Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka kept their place in the starting XI in the Switzerland Vs Costa Rica match, who escaped suspension for their ‘Eagle celebration’ against Serbia.
For Costa Rica, manager Oscar Ramirez made three changes to his squad for the Switzerland Vs Costa Rica. Center-back Oscar Duarte was replaced by Kendall Watson, Joel Campbell replaced Marco Urena up front and Daniel Colindres came in for Joan Veneges.
First half started with Switzerland winning a free kick in a scoring position within 2 minutes as Breel Embolo was fouled outside the box. Free-kick specialist Xherdan Shaqiri missed it with a goal kick being awarded to Costa Rica. Three minutes later Costa Rica appealed for a VAR review for ball handling by Ricardo Rodriguez by the referee dismissed it.
Swiss pair, fined by FIFA, to play against Costa Rica: NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (Reuters) – Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, who were fined by FIFA this week after politically-charged goal celebrations, were both named by Swit.. https://t.co/1RbqA6f9Cd pic.twitter.com/DXgHjGmXii
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Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer made two wonderful back-to-back saves to keep out long range shot from Joel Campbell and rebound header from Borges. In time gap of three minutes, Costa Rica had two more chances at goal from Colindres, first with a long range shot at goal which went just over the crossbar and second with another long range shot which clattered the crossbar.
These quick attacking moves from Costa Rica had signaled out that they were playing for three points. Switzerland while keeping eye on the other ongoing match in group E of Brazil versus Serbia at same time started taking control of the ball with possession play. But that lasted for very small duration. Costa Rica came with another spell of chances.
Colindres was again involved, as his shot got tipped-off well for a corner by Sommer and later saving resulting corner again. Colindres charging down from the left wing and Sommer catching his crosses were regular scenes in the Switzerland Vs Costa Rica match as both were heavily involved in opening half.
However, just after the half-hour mark Switzerland scored the first goal of the Switzerland Vs Costa Rica match against the run of play as new Arsenal signing Lichsteiner’s long cross into the box was headed by Embolo into the path of waiting Blerim Dzemaili, who had almost an empty net ahead of him to shoot. Dzemaili came close again to score but his effort was deflected away by Gonzalez. The Remaining minutes of the first half saw Switzerland in control and they were pretty determined to keep the lead before heading into halftime.
Half-time: #SUI 1-0 #CRC
Switzerland have done well to recover from a sluggish start against a determined Costa Rica side as they lead at the break courtesy of Dzemaili's goal. They are on course to reach the knockouts. #SUICRC #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/7kRqZrVYYS
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Though Switzerland finished with 67 percent possession in the first half, but it was Costa Rica who dominated inspite of lagging 1-0. An Early storm from the Costa Ricans surely helped them to take some positives from the first half. News of Brazil scoring in the first half must have been pleasing for the Switzerland dressing room at halftime.
Costa Rica kicked-off the second half in search of their first goal of the tournament and an equaliser. Arsenal’s Joel Campbell had chance to equalize in the early stages of the second half when he saw his effort go wide off the post from the resulting corner.
For Switzerland, left-back Ricardo Rodriguez tried his luck from 30 plus yards as his shot just went over the crossbar. Two minutes later, Breel Embolo had a shot on target after collecting a wonderful ball from Shaqiri but Keylor Navas, the hero of Brazil Vs Costa Rica tipped it wide. In the 56th minute, Costa Rica scored their first goal in Russia in the form of Kendall Watson, who headed the ball into the net from Campbell’s corner kick. Costa Rica were the only team remaining until then to score a goal in Russia.
Kendall Waston scores Costa Rica's first goal of this FIFA World Cup!
Los Ticos are now level with Switzerland 1-1. pic.twitter.com/yb5vT5CfUl
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Switzerland again took control of the possession not to concede in succession and to build some play in the Switzerland vs Costa Rica match. Switzerland fans inside the Novgorod Stadium started celebrating making loud noise after Brazil scored their second goal against Serbia which meant Switzerland will go through despite a defeat in the Switzerland Vs Costa Rica match.
Breel Embolo suddenly came alive in the last 20 minutes of the Switzerland vs Costa Rica match. He made two quick chances to put the game into bed but was unlucky with both of his deliveries not being converted by his teammates. With two minutes remaining from extra time, Switzerland scored their second goal as unmarked Josip Drmic finished Denis Zakaria’s delivery into the net from 11 yards.
As it looked a sure three points in the bag and Swiss fans celebrating victory at the Novgorod Stadium, Costa Rica equalized with late drama. Referee pointed out to the penalty spot as Ruiz was brought down by Watson but VAR cleared it with Ruiz being in an offside position. Three minutes later, Campbell was brought down inside the Swiss box by Zakaria and this time the penalty decision stood firm. Ruiz blasted the penalty to the edge of the crossbar but went in with a rebound from Sommer’s back. That was declared as Sommer’s own goal and was the last thrill of the Switzerland Vs Costa Rica encounter.
Switzerland 2-2 Costa Rica. (Yann Sommer) Own goal thanks to a penalty straight out of FIFA ? pic.twitter.com/zx3obfQNGa
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The Switzerland Vs Costa Rica match ended with just a point to take home for Costa Rica and Switzerland going to the next round with five points from Group E. The Switzerland Vs Costa Rica match also saw six yellow cards as defenders Lichsteiner and Schar both missing out their next fixture in the Round Of 16 after collecting two yellow cards in the group stages and that is surely going to hurt Switzerland.
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (Reuters) – Switzerland will be without Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schar in next week's World Cup knockout match against Sweden after being booked against Costa Rica but coach Vladimir Petkovic has.. https://t.co/efxjV7Vljf pic.twitter.com/A60H1eQ6G3
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Switzerland remained unbeaten in the group stages in Russia and will face Sweden on 3rd July for their Round Of 16 clash.
Man of the Match: Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland).