PETERSBURG, Russia: Sweden is doing just fine at the World Cup without Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The nation’s top career scorer retired from international soccer after a disappointing performance at the 2016 European Championship.
And he’s watched approvingly as Sweden won its World Cup group to set up a knockout-stage match with Switzerland. Ibrahimovic said in a video posted by his current club, LA Galaxy, that any team “will have a hard time” against Sweden.
Neither Sweden nor Switzerland has a stellar World Cup record. Sweden hasn’t won a round-of-16 match since 1994, and Switzerland last reached the quarterfinals in 1954.
Switzerland advanced to the round of 16 with two draws and a politically charged comeback victory over Serbia. Now the Swiss will have to contend with the loss of captain Stephan Lichsteiner and fellow defender Fabian Schaer, both of whom are suspended for the match after getting two yellow cards in group play. —AP