Sweden 3-0 Mexico, Both Advance, FIFA World Cup Group F

by Samuel Abasi Posted on June 27th, 2018

Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 on Wednesday and both countries advance from Group F to the knockout rounds after their  FIFA World Cup preliminary round football (soccer) match at the Ekaterinburg Arena in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Sweden tops the group ahead of Mexico, while Germany and Korea Republic are eliminated. .

The Europeans started in powerful fashion, dominating goalscoring opportunities and constantly looking dangerous in the air. However, they had to wait until five minutes into the second half to break the deadlock, as Ludwig Augustinsson swept home at the back post.

Ludwig Augustinsson volleyed a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa from close range five minutes into the second half, and captain Andreas Granqvist converted a penalty kick to help Sweden take control Wednesday and win Group F.

Despite the loss, Mexico also advances as runner-up in the group thanks to South Korea’s surprising 2-0 over defending champion Germany. Mexico has been to the round of 16 for seven straight World Cups. Sweden had not been to the knockout stage since 2006.

Mexico’s Edson Alvarez had an own goal in the 74th minute to put the game out of reach at 3-0.

As Sweden’s lead grew, Mexican fans paid more attention to the other game, rooting against Germany, which could have passed Mexico with a victory depending on tiebreakers.

El Tri’s faithful could be seen frantically checking their phones for scoring updates in Germany’s game soon after Sweden’s second goal. After South Koreas’ first goal, they let up a loud cheer and tossed drinks in the air as their chances of advancing improved.

Great organization and some fortunate timing played out in the second half for Sweden, which successfully recovered from an emotional, last-minute loss to Germany in its second game.

Augustinsson scored when the ball luckily landed in his path following a mistimed shot from Viktor Claesson that popped up straight to his teammate.

For Granqvist it was his second goal from the spot in the tournament, after he also scored on a penalty kick against South Korea.

With a 2-0 lead in its pocket and Mexico watching the score from the other match, Sweden took total control.

It culminated with Alvarez’s own goal, which occurred when he was trying to prevent Ola Toivonen from connecting with the ball, sending it past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

“We just need to move on,” Ochoa said. “This is the World Cup. We can’t pull it out of our pocket, it’s not going to be easy and I think it’s a good lesson for what’s to come.”

Alvarez’s own goal was the seventh overall of the tournament, the most in World Cup history, breaking the record of six set in 1998.

Neither Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio nor Sweden coach Janne Andersson made changes to their lineups. In Osorio’s case, it was the first time he hadn’t altered his starting 11 in consecutive games since he took over in 2015.

Mexico’s Jesus Gallardo was called for a yellow card just 13 seconds in — believed to be the fastest in World Cup history — setting up the first of two quick set-piece opportunities that Sweden could not take advantage of.

Each team had several near misses in the first half.

Berg was just wide in the 12th minute. Mexico’s Lozano Hirving was about a foot outside the left post on his strike from about 20 yards away. Carlos Vela also had a pair of close misses.

The play of the first half came in the 31st minute when Ochoa leapt to tip away a corner kick rebound shot from Berg.

That chance came only minutes after Mexico dodged a penalty kick being awarded to Sweden when a video assistant referee review ruled Javier Hernandez had not committed a handball.

Ludwig Augustinsson was named Budweiser Man of the Match for his attacking threat and crucial opening goal – his first at a FIFA World Cup.

“First of all, I have to say that we qualified because we beat Germany and Korea. However, and nevertheless, I’m very hurt [after this result]. In the end, we didn’t succeed with our penetration in the last third [of the pitch], that’s the number one factor to why we didn’t score. Second, we allowed them to score three goals, which I think is too many. My feelings in the last minutes [of the game] were my feelings in general. I wasn’t too happy with the way we defended and that was a learning experience for me.” Juan Carlos Osorio Mexico coach said after the game.

“We know what we’ve done before and that football nothing is impossible if you work really hard. Bring on Brazil as well” Man of the Match Ludwig Augustinsson said.

“We really work as a team, the entire team. We want to do everything to give our players the chance to succeed on the pitch. I am so incredibly proud and almost moved and so touched by the thought of how we performed in the entire pitch.” Janne Andersson Sweden coach said.

Sweden wins Group F and will face the runner-up of Group E (Brazil, Switzerland or Serbia) in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

Mexico qualify for the knockout stages for the seventh consecutive World Cup despite this defeat. As the runner-up of Group F Mexico meets winner of Group E Monday in Samara.

A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.

The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14.  The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The  11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.

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Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

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