Switzerland are one of the sides yet to taste a defeat in the tournament and the likes of Xhaka, Shaqiri and their mates will have to punch above their weight if they want to pick one of the two available spots in the quarter finals.
Sweden's midfielder Emil Forsberg (left) celebrates a goal next to Slovenian referee Damir Skomina during their 2018 World Cup round of 16 match against Switzerland at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on July 3, 2018.
But Forsberg arrived in Russian Federation shouldering the creative burden left by Ibrahimovic following his retirement two years ago, and the attacking midfielder's skills and slick movement stood out at St Petersburg Stadium.
The win helps Sweden reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 1994.
The clash ended on a sour note for the Swiss as defender Michael Lang was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Martin Olsson, who was through on goal.
Ibrahimovic, 36 and now playing out his illustrious career in the United States, would surely have put away some of the first-half chances created by his countrymen against a fragile Switzerland defence which was missing the suspended Fabian Schaer and Stephan Lichtsteiner. Marcus Berg blasted over when set free early on and then saw his finish blocked following a poor clearance by Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
There were chances and Sweden had majority.
Switzerland responded to the setback by sending on forwards Breel Embolo and Haris Seferovic, and the latter at least tested Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen with a header in the closing stages.
Blerim Dzemaili blazed over at the other end to waste a rare sight of goal for Switzerland, who had developed a reputation as second-half specialists at this year's tournament.
A low-quality match featured some of the worst finishing seen so far at the World Cup, and two efforts stood out.
Then, in the second half, Xhaka lined up a shot from outside the area and very almost whiffed.