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Late drama but Switzerland in to knockout stage after 2-2 draw with Costa Rica

Switzerland 2 (Džemaili 31′, Drmic 88’)
Costa Rica 2(Waston 56′, Sommer 90 + 3′ og)

By Caleb Mitchell

Switzerland has finished second in the Group E standings after a 2-2 draw in Nizhny Novgorod against Costa Rica who exit the group stage with a point.

The Swiss held the majority of possession in a match featuring goals to Blerim Džemaili and Josip Drmic, Costa Rica’s Kendall Waston and a late equalising own goal to Swiss keeper Yann Sommer in stoppage time.

Costa Rica stated their intentions early through a goal-bound header from striker Joel Campbell and a long-range shot by midfielder Celso Borges in the 6th minute, both saved in an early test for Swiss keeper Sommer.

Three minutes later Daniel Colindres would find space for Costa Rica with a strike from outside the box that deflected from the crossbar on to the goal line but not across it.

Switzerland opened the scoring in the 31st minute when Lichsteiner’s cross found Breel Embolo at the back post whose header back across goal was rammed home by Džemaili from just outside the six-yard box.

The lead was cancelled out 10 minutes in to the second half when Costa Rican defensive midfielder Kendall Waston rose to head home a corner from Colindres.

Switzerland almost snatched back the lead in the 77th minute when Embolo sat up a cross for Valon Behrami whose header crashed into the crossbar and back into play.

Just two minutes from full-time, the Swiss would regain the lead when Denis Zakaria’s cross from the right found fellow substitute Drmic, whose first-time strike from the edge of the area arrowed into the right-hand corner of the net.

But the match was far from over and just a minute later, Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz was brought down in the box by Ricardo Rodriguez and the referee pointed to the spot.

A VAR intervention ruled that Ruiz had been offside in the lead-up to the foul and the penalty decision was overturned.

Switzerland didn’t heed the warning as two minutes into stoppage time, Campbell was shoved off the ball by Behrami just inside the box and, this time, there was no doubt about the penalty.

Ruiz struck his spot kick against the underside of the crossbar and, unluckily for Swiss keeper Sommer, the ball bounced on his head and back into his own goal.

The 2-2 draw earned Costa Rica its solitary point of the tournament, while Switzerland, as Group E runners-up behind Brazil, will face shock Group F winners Sweden in the round-of-16.

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