Xherdan Shaqiri, Granit Xhaka absent in Switzerland's time of need vs. Sweden
Switzerland showed a lot of spirit and quality when coming from behind to draw against Brazil and beat Serbia in the group stage, but none of those qualities were evident as they succumbed 1-0 to an average Sweden side almost without a fight in St. Petersburg.
Hardly any. None of the Swiss stars, apart from the goalkeeper Yann Sommer, put in a decent performance on the night, and fans will be extremely disappointed as the team missed a golden opportunity to reach the quarterfinals.
The game plan was outrageously poor, and at times it looked like the Swiss don't really believe in themselves when facing physically strong but technically limited opponents. It was a strange performance, and everyone will try to forget it as soon as possible, even though lessons should definitely be learned from it.
Manager rating out of 10
2 -- Vladimir Petkovic had proved throughout his career that he is a wily and tactically astute coach. His changes during the matches against Brazil and Serbia were superb, and much more was expected on the big occasion. However, his team offered next to nothing in the first half, and the substitutions were made way too late.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Yann Sommer, 7 -- The Borussia Monchengladbach stalwart was solid as usual. He can't be blamed for the fact that Emil Forsberg's deflected shot found the net. Made a brilliant save from Marcus Berg after 29 minutes.
DF Michael Lang, 4 -- Poor performance defensively and offensively. Lang's passing was not good, and he completely lost Albin Ekdal in the penalty area when the Swede should have scored in the first half. Eventually sent off for a professional foul deep in injury time. The suspended Stefan Lichtsteiner was sorely missed.
DF Johan Djourou, 5 -- The former Arsenal man stepped in for the suspended Fabian Schar, and didn't convince against the physical Swedish strikers. Failed to distribute the ball from the back well either.
DF Manuel Akanji, 5 -- The better of the two center-backs, and the Borussia Dortmund starlet can depart the tournament with his head held high. Hugely unfortunate that the Forsberg shot hit him on the way to the net.
DF Ricardo Rodriguez, 4 -- Disastrous in every possible way in the first half, his mistake enabled Berg to have a magnificent chance to open the scoring on 29 minutes. Improved after the break, especially as far as offensive contributions are concerned, but still way below his usual level. Provided a quality cross for Haris Seferovic in injury time, but the header was saved by Robin Olsen.
MF Valon Behrami, 4 -- Was mainly busy marking Forsberg, he fouled constantly, was booked for his troubles, and was eventually nowhere to be seen when the Swedish playmaker scored.
MF Granit Xhaka, 4 -- Zero productivity offensively. The Arsenal star's long passes rarely reached their target, and he didn't shoot from distance either. Showed little leadership when it mattered most.
MF Blerim Dzemaili, 4 -- Missed the only Swiss goal-scoring chance in the first half, firing wildly off the mark. Barely visible after the break, and was replaced by Seferovic way too late.
MF Xherdan Shaqiri, 3 -- Shaqiri is Switzerland's star player, and he is supposed to provide imagination and lead by example. Instead, he simply went missing throughout the game. Played better even in his worst games for Stoke City.
MF Steven Zuber, 6 -- By far the best and most industrious Swiss player in the first half. Provided a sublime assist to Dzemaili that was wasted by the latter. Played his heart out, but tired after the break, and was replaced by Breel Embolo.
FW Josip Drmic, 4 -- Didn't receive any support, and failed to produce anything worthy of note himself. It is somewhat strange that Petkovic didn't replace him, or at least make a tactical change to use his talents better.
MF Breel Embolo, N/R -- Replaced Zuber after 73 minutes, but should have entered the field much earlier. Had a header cleared off the line six minutes later.
FW Haris Seferovic, N/R -- Replaced Dzemaili after 73 minutes, and tried his best. Had his header brilliantly saved by Olsen in injury time.
Michael Yokhin is an experienced international football journalist who writes for ESPN, Blizzard, Guardian and FourFourTwo. Follow him on Twitter @yokhin.