World Cup: Sweden thump Mexico to reach last 16

Sweden thrashed Mexico 3-0 in a Group H clash in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday, a result which sees both teams advance into the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup.

The ‘Blue-Yellow’ top the group on goal difference ahead of ‘El Tri’, who must have feared the worst upon suffering the heavy defeat, but were lucky to see Germany lose the other group match to South Korea.

Any win for the defending champions would have seen them edge ahead of Mexico on the standings, but instead they are out of the competition and the North Americans will move into the second round.

Sweden started strongly and piled on the early pressure, with their best moment arriving in the fifth minute when Emil Forsberg fired a shot on target from a free kick and forced a sharp save out of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

The ‘Blue-Yellow’ created several more chances through the first half, but were guilty of some poor finishing, and their final chance before the interval saw striker Marcus Berg fire a shot into the side netting from a tight angle in injury time.

Mexico, meanwhile, weathered the early storm, established a foothold in the game and created several opportunities of their own. The best saw Hirving Lozano tee up Carlos Vela on the edge of the box in the 17th minute, but the attacker sent his curling effort wide of the target.

The Swedes started the second half strongly and this time claimed the lead five minutes after the restart: a cross from the right was flicked up by Viktor Claesson and fell kindly for Ludwig Augustinsson, who fired a left-footed shot past Ochoa to put his team 1-0 up.

Things got even better for the Scandinavian side just after the hour mark, as Andreas Granqvist fired home a penalty to make it 2-0. The spot kick was given away by Mexican defender Hector Morena after a clumsy foul in the 18-yard area.

An unfortunate own goal made it 3-0 to Sweden in the 74th minute: a right-wing cross was flicked on by substitute Issac Kiese Thelin and Edson Alvarez made an awful mess of his attempted clearance, slicing the ball into his own net.

Vela missed a great chance to pull a goal back for ‘El Tri’, as Hernandez’s volleyed shot-cross was headed wide from close range, and that was as close as the Mexicans came to scoring in the match.

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