Sweden ends 43-year wait to shock France but still bows out at Euro 2012

June 21, 2012 10:26 pm 

KIEV, June 20 — The already out Sweden ended its EURO 2012 football campaign on a high note by upsetting France 2-0 in the final round of Group D clash on Tuesday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's stunning volley and Sebastian Larsson's last shot helped their side clinch the first victory against the Les Bleurs since 1969 and cheered the yellow-shirt packed Olympic Stadium, but still was not enough to change their bottom finish in the group.

France, who was 23 games unbeaten before the clash, ensured a second finish in the group after England knocked out the co-host Ukraine 1-0 in the same time.

England, boosted by Wayne Rooney's header, will play against Italy in the quarterfinals and France will meet the defending champion Spain.

Sweden, having suffered straight defeats to Ukraine and England, looked to reprove their reputation and play for their faithful fans, about 18,000 of whom have followed the squad to the Ukraine capital.

Their yellow shirts have been an iconic sight in the city center, nearly matching the similarly-colored co-host's tops.

Great opportunity for Sweden in the 10th minute when Ola Toivonen found himself clear in front of the area after an aerial battle with Philippe Mexes. But the Swedish forward hit the right post from an acute angle despite rounding the keeper Hugo Lloris with adapt moves.

Nine minutes into the second half Sweden sent their fans' dominating stadium wild when Ibrahimovic in the area acrobatically struck in a mid-air volley by firing the right-wing cross to the dead corner.

One minute into the injury time, Sebastian Larsson followed in time to smash the ball into the net after Samuel Holmen's shot bounced down to the ground and into his control.

In the past 17 meetings, France kept an advantageous record of eight wins, five draws and four defeats.

But now, the 2000 winner of the tournament had plenty to ponder about the defeat and the big challenge from the top favourite Spain.

The match was preceded by a minute's silence in memory of French football commentator Thierry Roland, who passed away on Saturday aged 74, according to UEFA. (PNA/Xinhua) FPV/LOR/ebp


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