ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - Switzerland were too slow and lacked emotion, coach Vladimir Petkovic said on Tuesday, after watching his side meekly surrender to Sweden in their round of 16 tie.
Ranked sixth in the world and beaten only once since Euro 2016, Switzerland appeared to have enough talent to end Sweden’s surprise run in the tournament but instead gave a soulless display as they lost 1-0.
“We are sorely disappointed, we wanted to do more,” Petkovic told reporters after Emil Forsberg’s heavily deflected shot settled the match midway through the second half and prevented his side reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since 1954.
“Sweden did precisely what they were good at and that was enough to beat us. We should have done things better, but we were not good enough to win this match.”
Switzerland had more possession but were too predictable to find a way past the massed Swedish defence.
Granit Xhaka’s raking passes failed to open up the Swedes while Xherdan Shaqiri’s scuttling forays down the right wing were also ineffective as he invariably overhit his crosses into the area.
Ricardo Rodriguez’s crosses and corners from the left were repeatedly headed away by the Swedish defence which easily anticipated his deliveries.
“We wanted to play down the wings but we were too slow, our passes were not good,” said Petkovic. “We played out of defence too slowly and we also tried to play diagonal passes, but we were not good enough.”
The defeat was doubly disappointing as the tournament had been seen as a golden opportunity for a generation of players — many sons of immigrants from the Balkans — which is regarded as the finest the country has produced.
“We didn’t find any fluidity and we got stuck in the middle,” said Petkovic. “Our emotions were playing tricks on us.
“Sweden are a strong team but we didn’t expect to be losing against them — but there were tiny details...”
He added: “This game was only ever going to be decided with a own goal or a long-range shot.”
Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Neil Robinson