herald

Monday 24 September 2018

Sweden have penalty plans for Switzerland

READY: Janne Andersson
READY: Janne Andersson

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson has firm plans in place should his side's last-16 clash with Switzerland be decided on penalties.

Both of Sunday's knockout games ended in shootouts, with hosts Russia and Croatia holding their nerve against Spain and Denmark respectively.

Sweden take on Switzerland on Tuesday for a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since USA 1994 and Andersson will leave nothing to chance in St Petersburg.

"It's my job to decide on the players who need to perform, in the case of a penalty shootout situation," Andersson told a press conference.

"We've talked about it in the squad of course and I'm going to rank the players, the entire squad in terms of penalties and then we'll have to see who's on the pitch at that point.

"If we've played 120 minutes we have a clear plan in place of what we're going to do, but I'm not going to enter into any more details."

Sweden beat Mexico 3-0 in their final Group F match to qualify ahead of Germany and South Korea and Andersson is confident his underdogs can spring another upset.

Switzerland have lost just one of their previous 25 matches and are currently sixth in FIFA's rankings.

"It's a situation again where we have to reach our personal best," Andersson added.

"I know I keep on repeating it, but I think it's a very good description on what is needed from us both as individuals and as a team.

"We need to reach our absolute highest level, then we will have the chance to beat Switzerland as well."

THREAT: Xherdan Shaqiri
THREAT: Xherdan Shaqiri

Sweden will be without former Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson through suspension, while Switzerland captain Stephan Lichtsteiner and fellow defender Fabian Schar will also serve one-game bans.

Switzerland, bidding to reach the last eight for the first time since 1954, have not been at their best so far in the tournament, qualifying behind Group E winners Brazil.

But Bosnian coach Vladimir Petkovic has primed his side to hit the ground running against Sweden after seeing them lift their performance levels after the interval during their previous matches.

"We've been very fortunate so far, that is true, but what we've seen throughout the tournament is that in spells we have been playing very well," he said.

"We've seen that we have been dangerous so far in the second half of the game.

"This time round we want to keep up that pressure from the start and I think that is going to happen."

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