Switzerland vs Costa Rica
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Switzerland booked their place in the last 16 despite being held to a late 2-2 draw by Costa Rica in their final game of Group E.
The Swiss went into the game needing a draw to qualify for the knockout rounds and Blerim Dzemaili fired Switzerland ahead in the 31st minute before Costa Rica scored their first goal of the 2018 World Cup as Kendall Waston’s header got them level.
There was more late drama at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium as Josip Drmic swept Switzerland back into the lead with two minutes of normal time to play.
But after having a penalty appeal turned down following a VAR review in the 89th minute, Costa Rica were awarded a spot-kick two minutes later, with Bryan Ruiz’s effort heading goalwards via the back of goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who takes the unwanted credit of an own goal.
Switzerland, though being far from their best, bossed possession by keeping 62% of the ball. But Costa Rica were the one which created the better chances as they had had 14 shots of which 6 hit the target, while the Swiss managed 13 shots of which only 3 hit the target.
10: COLINDRES HITS THE WOODWORK AND THE BALL BOUNCES OUT! A terrible miscommunication in midfield by Switzerland gifts the ball to Daniel Colindres who gets away from Shaqiri and curls an absolute beauty towards Sommer’s far post, but the ball cannons off of the underside of the crossbar and out – with the ball never crossing the line. Costa Rica have started the match on absolute fire!
11: Cristian Gamboa is shown the first yellow card of the match for a sliding challenge in midfield on Breel Embolo which caught none of the ball and all of the man.
17: GAVRANOVIC BENDS IT AROUND THE OUTSIDE OF THE POST! Shaqiri’s blistering run through midfield ends as the diminutive player lays off the ball for Blerim Dzemaili, who loses possession on the edge of the box. Mario Gavranovic spots the opportunity and bends a ball toward the far post, but it just misses the target.
29: Joel Campbell is given Costa Rica’s second yellow of the match after elbowing Manuel Akanji while running through midfield. The striker is protesting his innocents, but the referee has already made up his mind.
31: BLERIM DZEMAILI MAKES IT 1-0 SWITZERLAND! WHAT A THUNDERBOLT! Against the run of play, Switzerland take the lead! Stephan Lichtsteiner gets free on the right-hand side and puts a delightful cross into the penalty area for Breel Embolo. Marked tightly, Embolo decides to nod the ball towards Dzemaili who is waiting in front of the net and with the goalkeeper out of the way, he smashes his volley confidently into the roof of the goal!
37: Daniel Colindres wins a free-kick in midfield after a tackle from Valon Behrami – and captain Stephan Lichtsteiner is booked for dissent as the right-back appears very unhappy with the decision.
56: COSTA RICA HAVE THEIR GOAL AND IT’S 1-1! The Costa Rica fans and players are in ecstasy as Kendall Waston nods in the equaliser from a corner-kick after Manuel Akanji failed to mark his man properly. The defender who did not start the previous game has made amends for his earlier miss with a brilliant header!
81: Rodney Wallace will get a run out in the last 10 minutes of the match as Daniel Colindres – who has had a tremendous game – exits the pitch in Costa Rica’s first substitution.
83: Fabian Schar picks up a yellow card after pulling back Joel Campbell who is constantly threatening the Switzerland defence. That caution means that, as with Lichtsteiner, Schar will miss his side’s next game.
88: JOSIP DRMIC MAKES IT 2-1 FOR SWITZERLAND! Dzemaili nutmegs a Costa Rica midfielder and spreads the ball out to the right-hand side for Denis Zakaria. Zakaria looks up and fires in a low cross for Drmic who smashes his first-time effort past Navas and into the goal! Switzerland have taken the lead with two minutes left!
91: David Guzman is replaced by Randall Azofeifa in Costa Rica’s second switch of the match.
92: PENALTY TO COSTA RICA! Denis Zakaria is deemed to have pushed Joel Campbell in the penalty area, and Los Ticos do eventually get their penalty! It’s Bryan Ruiz to strike it…
93: Cristian Gamboa makes way as Oscar Ramirez uses his final substitution to bring on Ian Smith.
93: AN OWN GOAL FROM THE PENALTY MAKES IT 2-2! A slightly odd penalty as the shot from Bryan Ruiz strikes the underside of the crossbar before hitting Yann Sommer’s back and nesting into the back of the Switzerland goal! What an incredible final few minutes of this match! It officially goes down as a Yann Sommer own goal, though the keeper knew very little about the rebound as his back was turned.
Xherdan Shaqiri (**): The Stoke winger had a great game against Serbia, and had a decent night against Costa Rica.
Keylor Navas (**): The Galactico shot-stopper and Costa Rica captain was again at task to stop the Swiss, but was beaten two times by the Switzerland.
Player Ratings (***- Exceeded Expectation, ** – Met Expectation, * – Didn’t meet the expectation):
Outstanding Player: Breel Embolo
After a year of injury heartbreak, Embolo had a fine performance in Nizhny Novgorod, setting up the opening goal for Dzemaili and producing a number of other knockdowns for his team-mates to score, although the final product was lacking somewhat.
He put a good case together for his inclusion in Switzerland’s last 16 game against Sweden and was a bright spark for his country.
Switzerland: The Swiss were far from their best in the game but led against their opponents two times but were pegged back two times from Costa Rica to scrape a draw.
Costa Rica: Costa Rica had a great night and they fought valiantly to snatch a draw.
Viewer Rating: ***
Yann Sommer’s own goal after a Bryan Ruiz penalty hit the woodwork equalised for Costa Rica in the 93rd minute after Josip Drmic had retaken the lead for Switzerland two minutes from time. It was a brilliant match played by Los Ticos who fought valiantly until the very end and gave their fans two goals to cheer about despite having their fate sealed before the match.
Match Implication: Switzerland can hold their heads high after securing qualification from Group E in second position, behind Brazil by two points. The Swiss will have a meeting with Sweden in the first knockout stage, as Janne Andersson’s side topped Group F, while Costa Rica head home after finishing last in the group with a single point. Vladimir Petkovic will be forced to change his squad for their next match, however, as Fabian Schar and Stephan Lichtsteiner picked up bookings which will suspend them for their first knockout match.
That concludes our coverage of the Group E match between Switzerland and Costa Rica from the World Cup 2018 in Russia. We hope you enjoyed our coverage and we look forward to seeing you again soon!