Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili, top celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal during the group E match between Switzerland and Costa Rica, at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod , Russia, Wednesday, June 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Natasha Pisarenko)

Brazil and Switzerland advance at World Cup

Brazil ultimately topped a group the five-time World Cup winner was expected to win, sending Serbia and Costa Rica home

Switzerland is through to a knockout game against Sweden at the World Cup. Half of its starting defence isn’t.

Switzerland qualified second in Group E behind Brazil despite twice losing the lead in a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica on Wednesday night. The riveting game culminated with an injury-time penalty from Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz that hit the crossbar and went in off Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer’s head.

Despite the late drama, a draw was enough to send Switzerland through to the knockout stage.

But the bad news for the Swiss: Yellow cards for captain Stephan Lichtsteiner and fellow defender Fabian Schaer — their second of the tournament — meant they’ll be suspended for the Sweden match in St. Petersburg.

Their absence leaves two gaping holes to be filled at the back as Switzerland chases a place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time since 1954.

“This is certainly not an ideal scenario,” Switzerland midfielder Blerim Dzemaili said. “We don’t need to look at who’s not there, we need to look at who will be able to play. This is very disappointing.”

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic’s gamble to play the two key defenders while they were already on yellow cards backfired in a game where the team only needed a draw to progress. As it turned out, Switzerland could have lost to already-eliminated Costa Rica and still gone through because Brazil beat Serbia 2-0.

Serbia had a chance to pass Switzerland for second place, but Brazil ended up dominating that match. Brazil will face Group F runner-up Mexico Monday and Switzerland plays Sweden Tuesday.

“I think the team can cope (against Sweden),” Petkovic said. “It’s too bad for those two guys but it’s too late now to lament that and correct that.”

Right back Lichtsteiner received his yellow for a studs-up tackle in the first half. Central defender Schaer got his late on, with seven minutes to go of normal time.

Switzerland had led Costa Rica against the run of play in Nizhny Novgorod when Dzemaili slammed in the first goal from close range in the 31st minute.

Dzemaili didn’t replicate the politically charged double-headed Albanian eagle hand-signal celebrations that Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Lichtsteiner all used in the game against Serbia that earned them combined fines of $25,000 from FIFA.

Costa Rica decided they had had enough of being losers at this World Cup.

The Central Americans avoided being the only team to go home from Russia without a goal when defender Kendall Waston rose to head in a corner early in the second half to equalize at 1-1.

Substitute Josip Drmic put Switzerland ahead again with a first-time shot from a cross in the 88th minute.

Costa Rica, surprise quarterfinalists in Brazil four years ago, lifted themselves again.

Moments after referee Clement Turpin of France consulted the video assistant referee and turned down a Costa Rica penalty claim, Los Ticos did get a spot-kick.

Joel Campbell was hacked down on the left side of the penalty area by Denis Zakaria in injury time, giving Ruiz the chance to send Costa Rica home with the consolation of a point for a draw.

He took it, via the back of goalie Sommer’s head. The goal was given as an own goal by Sommer. That brought the World Cup total to eight own goals, already two higher than the 1998 record.

GROUP DYNAMICS:

Brazil ultimately topped a group the five-time World Cup winner was expected to win. It didn’t come easy for after a 1-1 draw with Switzerland in its opening game. Costa Rica also frustrated Neymar and the Brazilians until two goals in injury-time. Brazil was solid against Serbia, with goals in each half by Paulinho and Thiago Silva seeing it through.

Switzerland did enough to hold on to second place.

KEY TO SUCCESS:

Switzerland will undoubtedly miss right back Lichtsteiner and central defender Schaer for the game against Sweden, which proved it will be a handful with a 3-0 win earlier Wednesday over Mexico.

Switzerland has the potential up front with the likes of Dzemaili and creative midfielders Shaqiri and Xhaka, but all the focus against Sweden will be now be on how to shore up the defence.

Costa Rica was in danger of becoming the first team since Algeria and Honduras in 2010 to leave a World Cup without a goal. Waston, who plays for the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer, made sure that didn’t happen.

“Our group was very tough,” Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez said. “But that’s the way football is. I insist that we played against very good teams.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Revelstoke Rotary’s adventurer in citizenship recounts Ottawa trip

Revelstokian Cohen Lussier, a grade 11 student at Revelstoke Secondary School, recounted… Continue reading

Two sent to hospital following Trans-Canada accident near Revelstoke

Revelstoke RCMP report two people were sent to hospital following a three… Continue reading

Further mediated talks scheduled in casino strike

Gateway and BCGEU schedule talks for July 20-22

Extreme fire danger in the Okanagan-Shuswap

The fire danger rating hits extreme or high in areas of the Okanagan- Shuswap

Revelstoke Local Food Initiative’s Garden and Art Tour returns this Sunday

Have you ever caught yourself wondering what lies over that hedge, or… Continue reading

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Car calls 911 on possible impaired B.C. driver

A luxury car automatically calls Princeton police to scene of crash involving alcohol

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

Wildfire remains out of control near Lake Country

Lake Country - The fire started near Dee Lake, southwest of Coldstream yesterday

VIDEO: Life’s a beach at this B.C. sand sculpting contest

More than $50,000 was up for grabs at the annual contest held in Parksville

Most Read