NIZHNY NOGROD (RUSSIA): Switzerland knocked out Costa Rica with a scintillating 2-2 draw to progress to the knockout stage 16 in their Group E fixture at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Wednesday.
The Swiss will meet Sweden in the first knockout stage match, as Janne Andersson’s side topped Group F, while Costa Rica head home after finishing last in the group with a single point.
Although Costa Rica were eliminated from the tournament, they were off to a bright start.
Switzerland got the first breakthrough, when in the 31st minute, midfielder Blerim Dzemaili blasted a goal via a beautiful pass by Stephan Lichtsteiner.
In the second half, defender Kendall Waston scored a brilliant header to help Costa Rica equalise in the 56th minute. Thereafter, the next half an hour was full of intensity and aggression as both Costa Rica and Switzerland tried hard to net a goal and gain an upper lead.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 88th minute, when substitute Josip Drmic scored Switzerland's second goal to put his team ahead and looked set to collect three more points.
But, in the dying minutes of the game, Costa Rican skipper Bryan Ruiz missed a penalty chance as the ball struck the underside of the crossbar. But it hit Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer's back and touched the net of the goalpost, thereby changing the scoreline from 2-1 to 2-2.
According to ANI, Switzerland is progressing to the knockout stage in the last four of the five World Cups in which they appeared (1994, 2006 and 2014). They only failed to qualify beyond the group stage in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Image Credit: Scroll.in