Fri, Jun 29, 2018 - Page 16 News List

FIFA WORLD CUP: Switzerland draw 2-2 with Costa Rica to advance, but lose skipper Lichtsteiner


Switzerland on Wednesday moved through to the FIFA World Cup last 16 after a draw over Costa Rica, but are to be without captain Stephan Lichtsteiner because of suspension.

A 93rd minute own-goal by Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer from a Bryan Ruiz penalty gave Costa Rica a 2-2 draw on a night of late drama in Nizhny Novgorod.

That wiped out a Switzerland lead that had lasted only two minutes after substitute Josep Drmic slotted home to apparently give the Swiss an undeserved victory.

Earlier, Blerim Dzemaili had thumped home in the first half to give Switzerland the lead against the run of play in the 31st minute against the team who finished bottom of Group E.

That goal was canceled out by Kendall Waston’s header in the 56th minute, Costa Rica’s first goal of the tournament.

The draw ensured that Switzerland advance, finishing second in the group behind Brazil.

However, Switzerland will be left counting the cost after yellow cards for experienced defenders Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schaer mean they will miss the game against Sweden in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Tuesday.

Lichtsteiner received a yellow card for a late tackle on Daniel Colindres in the 37th minute.

It was the Arsenal player’s second yellow of the tournament after being booked in the opening game against Brazil.

He was one of three players who had escaped a ban going into the match after controversial “double eagle” goal celebrations in the fevered 2-1 victory over Serbia.

Then late on Schaer received his second yellow card of the tournament, also ruling him out of the Sweden match.

The point was no more than Costa Rica deserved for a fine performance.

They continually stretched the Switzerland defense in the first half and looked the most likely to take all three points in the second.

Switzerland took the lead when Dzemaili emphatically converted from close range after a fine headed knockdown by Breel Embolo.

It was the only goal Switzerland have scored in the first half at the tournament.

The goal was harsh on Costa Rica after a frantic start saw them go close on several occasions, hitting the post and bar.

As early as the sixth minute, Celso Borges’ header was brilliantly turned on to the post by Sommer.

Four minutes later Colindres hit the bar with a fine shot that Sommer, but hit the bar. Campbell and Oviedo also went close as Costa Rica dominated.

However, they were finally rewarded by defender Waston’s header from a second-half corner.

The goal ensured that Costa Rica would not be the only team who did not score at this World Cup.

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