Thousands of people, gathered to collectively watch the World Cup on outdoor screens in Oslo, burst into loud jubilation Tuesday afternoon when Sweden’s national men’s football team beat Switzerland and secured Sweden a spot in the World Cup quarter finals. It’s not often that Norwegians cheer for Swedes, but their neighbours now represent Scandinavia’s last chance for glory in international football.
Norway didn’t even qualify for the World Cup, and Denmark was forced out on Monday after losing to Croatia. Many Norwegians had pinned their World Cup hopes and attention on Denmark’s team, not least because its head coach is a Norwegian, Åge Hareide.
That left Sweden as the last hope for Scandinavians, and many Norwegians followed the action in St Petersburg closely. Bars were full of football fans and the match was even being followed on various screens at a downtown Oslo hair salon.
Commentators largely agreed that Sweden’s 1-o victory was well-deserved. Emil Forsberg scored the decisive goal, hurling Sweden into the quarter-finals for the first time since 1994.
It’s the latest upset in a World Cup that’s already seen powerhouses like Germany, Argentina, Portugal and Spain forced out of further play. Italy and the Netherlands didn’t qualify. Sweden will now meet England, which beat Colombia in a dramatic match that ended only after a penalty shootout that left England ahead 4-3.