Sweden embarasses Mexico, eliminates defending champs Germany
YEKATERINBURG, Russia — Sweden got a little help from the El Tri in a 3-0 win over Mexico Wednesday, June 27, to secure its spot in the knockout stage.
Mexico, which already had six points, also advanced.
Ludwig Augustinsson and Andreas Granqvist scored 12 minutes apart in the second half for Sweden before an own goal by Edson Alvarez pushed the game further out of reach.
Mexico left back Jesus Gallardo received a yellow card for elbowing Sweden's Ola Toivonen just 13 seconds into the match, the quickest a player has ever been booked in the World Cup.
Mexico had to sweat out the final moments of the match between Germany and South Korea, as a win by Germany would have knocked out Mexico.
South Korea 2, Germany 0
KAZAN, Russia — Defending champion Germany failed to advance to the knockout stage after a stunning 2-0 loss to South Korea in Kazan.
South Korea scored both of its goals in the final minutes of stoppage time, with Kim Young-Gwon scoring two minutes into the bonus and Korean star Son Heung-Min connecting four minutes later.
Sweden and Mexico both finished Group F with six points after Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 in a concurrent match. With the goal differential advantage, Sweden won the group and will face Group E runner-up Switzerland on Tuesday. Mexico will face Group E winner Brazil on Monday.
Germany finished with three points after the loss and makes its first opening-round exit since 1938. The Germans came into the match knowing that a win by two goals would have been enough to advance. Given Sweden's victory, a win by one goal would have been sufficient for Germany.
The German side dominated possession, controlling for 74 percent of the match and firing 28 shots. But each failed to connect, leaving Germany at the bottom of the Group F standings.
Brazil 2, Serbia 0
MOSCOW — Despite a few nervy moments in its own end, Brazil used a few moments of brilliance to claim a victory over Serbia in Moscow, advancing to the knockout stage as the winner of Group E.
Brazil struck in the 36th minute after Philippe Coutinho delivered a beautiful ball in behind the Serbian back line. Making a run from the midfield, Paulinho closed on the bouncing ball, recognized keeper Vladimir Stojkovic coming out for it and flicked it up and over into the vacated net.
Serbia put extensive pressure on the Brazilian defense in the second half, including a pair of point-blank headers by striker Aleksandar Mitrovic that were denied, one by defender Thiago Silva and another by goalkeeper Alisson. Five minutes after the latter, Brazil earned a corner kick in the 68th minute and Silva nodded home an inswinging cross from Neymar, all but deciding the match.
Brazilian left back Marcelo left the game less than 10 minutes in with back spasms and was replaced by Filipe Luis. His status for Monday's Round of 16 match with Mexico is unclear.
Serbia finished in third place in Group E with three points.
Switzerland 2, Costa Rica 2
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia — Already mathematically eliminated from the knockout stage, Costa Rica equalized twice in the second half, including once in stoppage time, to claim a draw and its only point of the World Cup.
Barring a Serbian victory over Brazil, the Swiss needed only a draw to advance, and they came out on their heels as Costa Rica forced four saves from goalkeeper Yann Sommer and hit the post twice in the first half hour. Switzerland broke through against the run of play in the 31st minute, when Blerim Džemaili slammed home a ball that was headed back to him by Breel Embolo at the top of the 6-yard box.
Costa Rica defender Kendall Waston leveled it at 1-1 with a header off a corner kick from Joel Campbell in the 56th minute, but the Swiss regained the lead in the 88th minute when Josip Drmic one-timed a low cross from Denis Zakaria into the right corner.
Moments later, after video review denied a penalty kick for Costa Rica for offsides, Campbell was brought down in the box by Zakaria, drawing a penalty that stood. Costa Rica's Bryan Ruiz put the penalty kick off the crossbar, but the ball redirected down and off the back of the head of a diving Sommer, ricocheting into the net as an own goal.
Switzerland finished the group stage with five points, two behind Brazil, and will play Group F winner Sweden on Tuesday. Costa Rica finished with one point at the bottom of Group E.