Switzerland was hoping for a drama-free route into the last 16 of the World Cup. It didn’t get it.
Switzerland qualified alongside Group E winner Brazil despite twice losing the lead in a riveting 2-2 draw with Costa Rica on Wednesday night.
The game ended with a stoppage-time equalizer as Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruiz’s penalty kick hit the crossbar, then bounced off of goalkeeper Yann Sommer’s head and into the goal. The Costa Ricans had already been eliminated from the tournament but wanted to make sure they weren’t the only team to leave Russia without a goal.
Although the draw didn’t affect Switzerland’s progression, captain Stephan Lichtsteiner and fellow defender Fabian Schaer each picked up their second yellow cards of the tournament, meaning they will both be suspended for the knockout game against Group F winner Sweden on Tuesday in St. Petersburg.
That will leave two significant holes in Switzerland’s defence as it plays for a place in the quarterfinals. Switzerland last made it to the quarters of a major tournament in 1954.
Serbia had a chance to pass Switzerland for second place with a win or draw, but Brazil dominated that match, winning 2-0. Brazil will face Group F runner-up Mexico Monday.
Switzerland twice led Costa Rica before being pegged back. The Swiss also had to survive a flurry of chances from the Costa Ricans, who kept Sommer busy all night.
The goalkeeper might have been a candidate for man of the match before the last-gasp penalty by Costa Rican captain Bryan Ruiz was scored as an own goal for Sommer after the ricochet.
Bjerim Dzemaili slammed in Switzerland’s first goal from close range after being set up by a header from Breel Embolo.
Costa Rica got its first goal of the World Cup when defender Kendall Waston headed in a corner early in the second half to equalize at 1-1.
Substitute Josip Drmic put Switzerland 2-1 up in the 88th minute, and it looked like the Swiss had a victory.
But Costa Rica’s Joel Campbell was hacked down in the dying minutes to give Los Ticos the chance to get one point for a draw. Ruiz took it, via Sommer’s head.