Ekaterinburg, June 27 (IANS) Sweden reached the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup as Group F leaders after a convincing 3-0 victory over Mexico at the Ekaterinburg Arena here on Wednesday.
Mexico also advanced to the knockout stage as runners-up thanks to Germany’s shock defeat 2-0 to South Korea, reported Xinhua news agency.
The decisive match started with a breathtaking tempo, as both sides demonstrated aggressiveness and determination from the very beginning, and Jesus Gallardo was booked by the referee within the first minute.
A floppy back-pass of the Swedes gave Mexico first goal-scoring chance in the 16th minute, but Carlos Vela’s curling shot just missed the goal inches wide of the far post.
Mexico survived a penalty scare as the referee stopped the game to review VAR, then refused to revise his initial judgment.
Sweden pulled ahead in the 50th minute when Viktor Claesson’s shot ended up an unanticipated assist for Ludwig Augustinsson, whose calm half-volley gave Sweden a 1-0 lead.
The Scandinavians were awarded a penalty after Hector Moreno fouled Marcus Bergin in the box. Captain Andreas Granqvist made no mistake from the spot.
Mexico defender Edson Alvarez scored an own goal in the 74th minute to help Sweden seal the victory and top position on the group standings on a superior goal difference.
Sweden will next take on the runners-up of Group E and Mexico will play the Group E winners.