Emil Forsberg says belief is the key to Sweden’s run at the World Cup after his strike in the 1-0 win against Switzerland sealed a spot in the quarter-finals.
The RB Leipzig winger saw his shot deflected home by Switzerland defender Manuel Akanji in the 66th minute to see the Swede’s into the last eight of the competition for the first time since 1994.
It continues a trend of the lowered ranked teams knocking out their more favoured opponents at the 2018 tournament, and Forsberg says belief plays a big part.
“There are a lot of good teams and a lot is at stake, there can be nerves – it can be anything. But in particular, it is important to believe in what you do and I think that’s what making us so strong,” he said.
“We’re so confident in what we do, if we get it all right, we know we can be really good in both defence and attack so it is paying off and that’s really the best testament we can give.
“We’re in the quarter-finals now and it’s proof that what we’re doing is really good.”
His sentiments were echoed by manager Janne Andersson, who said Sweden deserve their success and are now turning their attentions to Saturday’s quarter-final against either Colombia or England.
“We know that we are a good team. We’re here, we’ve earned our successes and we know how we’ve got this far, we’ve worked this way throughout and we’ll continue in the same way,” he said.
“What other teams and countries think about that, that’s not interesting really. We focus on our game, our play and how we help each other in the best way possible.
“We don’t even know what opponent we’ll be faced with so that will be the focus of our preparations over the next few days. We’ll do our best and then we’ll see what happens.”
Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic was naturally disappointed with the result which sends his side home, but believes there can be hope for the future.
“We’re sorely disappointed. The entire team is. We wanted to do more, clearly, but we also congratulate the Swedish team because they did precisely what they are very good at and it has been enough to beat us.” he said.
“Of course, we should have done thing better but those are the moments when we were just not at par. We were not good enough to win that match.
“Our team has shown that we have major potential with major opportunities to develop ourselves forward. There are a number of things that need to be improved but the Swiss team is in a good way forward. Again, there is only so much you can do – sometimes things happen and you fail.”