Sweden secures Euro 2012 spot
Published: 12 Oct 2011 07:52 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Oct 2011 07:52 GMT+02:00
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"A fantastic achievement by the lads," national team coach Erik Hamrén told broadcaster TV4 after the game's nail-biting final moments had come to an end.
The Swedes scored first through Lyon midfielder Kim Källström's free kick, a lead the yellow and blues were to hold for a mere eight minutes.
Schalke 04 striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar responded with a headed goal to level the scores and return Sweden to a play off place.
The Netherlands dominated the possession following the goal and when Dirk Kuyt headed in the re-bound from Robin van Persie's penalty, the game appeared to be out of the reach of Sweden, playing without captain and star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
But there was more fight in the Swedish ranks to come and Sunderland winger Sebastian Larsson levelled up the scores at 2-2 from the penalty spot after a handball from Dutch stopper Joris Mathijsen.
Two minutes later, the hard-working Johan Elmander laid on Ola Toivonen who made up for an earlier glaring miss and steered the ball into the net to put Sweden in the lead.
The remainder of the match was a determined rearguard action by Sweden who held off the Dutch hordes which swept forward in attack after attack.
The Dutch, missing a number of key players for the evening, were unable to break down the Swedish defence however and the game played out without further score ensuring that Sweden will join neighbours Denmark in the finals next summer.