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Sweden shock winners of Group F after thrashing Mexico 3-0

Mexico 0
Sweden 3 (Augustinsson 50′, Granqvist 62′ Alvarez og 74’)

By Jesse Kemp Segedin

In a result considered unlikely even at the start of a dramatic final matchday in Group F, Sweden has finished top of the group after thumping Mexico 3-0.

Despite the heavy loss, Mexico finished second in the group courtesy of Korea Republic’s shock defeat of Germany in the other group match.

Sweden’s goals came from defender Ludwig Augustinsson’s close-range finish, a penalty to captain Andreas Granqvist and an own goal from Mexican right-back Edson Alvarez.

The game started with a bang when Mexican left back Jesus Gallardo clattered into the back of Swedish forward Ola Toivonen 13 seconds into the match to receive the quickest yellow card in World Cup history.

That was about the only time Mexico held the upper hand in the physical battle despite controlling 65 per cent possession.

Sweden’s tactics became clear early on as they peppered Mexico’s box with corners, free kicks and crosses to exploit their substantial height advantage.

There was more VAR controversy when Mexican forward Javier Hernandez appeared to use his arm to control a ball in his own penalty area.

Referee Nestor Pitana initially waved play on and despite consulting the review at the next stoppage, he deemed the contact was unintentional, much to the chagrin of the Swedish bench and coaching staff.

With both games in the group level at 0-0 at halftime, Mexico and Germany stood as the two sides that would progress.

But the group was turned on its head five minutes into the second half when a scuffed shot by Viktor Claesson fortuitously fell into the path of Augustinsson who rifled his left-foot shot in at close range from an acute angle.

The game continued in much the same style as the first half, with Sweden happy to concede possession to Mexico before pouncing on poor passes or making good tackles and springing forward in numbers.

And that is how Sweden’s second goal came about when Mexico lost possession in the midfield to Toivonen who played in Marcus Berg and, just as the striker was about to shoot, he was brought down in the box by Carlos Salcedo.

Captain Granqvist stepped up to dispatch the penalty into the top left corner which left Mexico keeper Ochoa with no chance.

Mexico’s World Cup future was suddenly in doubt if Germany could find a winner against the Korea Republic in the other group match.

That scenario looked even more grim when Mexico’s Edson Alvarez attempted to clear the ball from a long throw but only ended up knocking it into his own net.

Mexico was down 3-0 but scenes of despair and heartbreak among their supporters turned to jubilation as word came through of a 92nd-minute goal for Korea Republic. A second goal to the Koreans meant Germany was eliminated and Mexico had survived.

The Swedes finished top of Group F and will play Switzerland, Group E runner-up, in the round-of-16.

Mexico will meet Group E winners Brazil in the first round of the knockout stage.

Match Statistics

Mexico 65%
Sweden 35%

Shots on Target
Mexico – 3
Sweden – 5

Mexico – 7
Sweden 3

Team Line-ups

Mexico: 13 G. Ochoa (GK), 3 C. Salcedo, 7 M. Layun (89′), 11 Carlos V, 14 J. Hernandez, 15 H. Moreno, 16 H. Herrera, 18 A. Guardado (75′) (C) , 21 E. Alvarez, 22 H. Lozano, 23 J. Gallardo (65′)
Substitutes: 1 J. Corona (GK), 2 H. Ayala, 4 R. Marquez, 5 E. Guiterrez, 6 J. Dos Santos, 8 M. Fabian (65′), 9 Raul, 10 G. Dos Santos, 12 A. Talavera (GK), 17 Jesus C (75′), 19 O. Peralta (89′), 20 J. Aquino

Sweden: 1 Olsen (GK), 2 Lustig, 3 Lindelof, 4 Grangvist (C), 6 Augustinsson, 7 Larsson (57′), 8 Ekdal (80′), 9 Berg (68′), 10 Forsberg, 17 Claesson, 20 Toivonen
Substitutes: 5 Olsson, 11 Guidetti, 12 Johnsson (GK), 13 Svensson (57′), 14 Helander, 15 Hiljemark(80′), 16 Krafth, 18 Jansson, 19 Rohden, 21 Durmaz, 22 Kiese Thelin (68′), 23 Norfeldt (GK)

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