Mexico loses but moves on at World Cup
Yekaterinburg, Russia — Sweden was so dominant against Mexico at the World Cup that the best Mexican plays of the night were made 600 miles away by South Koreans.
The Swedes rolled to a 3-0 rout Wednesday, never challenged in the second half, overtaking Mexico to win Group F just four nights after a gut-wrenching last-minute loss to Germany. The result, combined with South Korea’s 2-0 upset of the Germans, meant Sweden and Mexico – the group runner-up – advanced.
The defending champions from Germany go home early.
Sweden makes its first appearance in the knockout stage since 2006. Mexico plays in the round of 16 for the seventh straight World Cup, with its fans desperate for its first quarterfinal appearance in 32 years — the elusive “quinto partido,” or fifth game.
Sweden didn’t want to focus on getting revenge by helping eliminate Germany, which got some favorable calls in a tense, 2-1 victory over the Swedes on Saturday night.
“We grew another little bit,” Sweden coach Janne Andersson said. “I am not going to sit here and gloat having won a match or boast about a win. We don’t want to stir things up too much.”
Ludwig Augustinsson volleyed a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa from close range five minutes into the second half, and captain Andreas Granqvist converted a penalty kick to help Sweden take control.
Mexico’s Edson Alvarez had an own goal in the 74th minute to put the game out of reach at 3-0.
It capped an emotional week for the Blue-Yellow. The team made a unified statement Sunday defending teammate Jimmy Durmaz from criticism and racist attacks after his late foul led to a free kick that won the game for Germany.
“A few days ago we lost in the last minute and we were very disappointed, and now we come back and beat Mexico,” Augustinsson said. “I think we deserved to win the group, and Mexico deserved to be second.”
As Sweden’s lead grew, Mexican fans paid more attention to the other game, rooting against Germany, which could have passed Mexico with a victory depending on tiebreakers.
El Tri’s faithful could be seen frantically checking their phones for scoring updates from Germany’s game soon after Sweden’s second goal. After South Korea’s first goal, they let up a loud cheer and tossed drinks in the air as their chances of advancing improved.
South Korea 2, Germany 0: At Kazan, Germany is out of the World Cup, the fourth defending champion in the last five tournaments to be eliminated in the group stage. The four-time champions allowed a pair of injury-time goals while knowing a 1-0 victory would have been enough to advance. It was the first time Germany has been eliminated in the first round since 1938.
Brazil 2, Serbia 0: At Moscow, Paulinho and Thiago Silva scored a goal each to give the five-time champions first place in their group.
Brazil struggled in its opening two matches, first held to a 1-1 draw and then needing late goals to win the other. But it controlled this one.
Paulinho gave his team the lead when he met a lofted ball from Philippe Coutinho in the 36th minute. The defensive midfielder let the ball bounce in front of him near the penalty spot and kicked his right leg in the air to tap it over the goalkeeper’s fingertips.
Switzerland 2, Costa Rica 2: At Nizhny Novgorod, Switzerland qualified for the round of 16 despite twice losing the lead against Costa Rica, which had already been eliminated.
Costa Rica scored from Bryan Ruiz penalty kick in stoppage time to tie the match, but it didn’t affect Switzerland’s progression as the second-place team in Group E.