• Sweden edition
 
Sweden loses to Ukraine in Euro 2012 opener

Sweden loses to Ukraine in Euro 2012 opener

Published: 12 Jun 2012 06:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Jun 2012 06:08 GMT+02:00

The night belonged to Ukraine’s veteran talisman Andrei Shevchenko, who drew the adulation of the home supporters in Kiev with a second half double of headed goals in the 55th and 61st minute that gave the hosts a 2-1 lead.

It was looking rosy for Sweden only moments earlier, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic had put them 1-0 up with a poacher’s finish.

"It's tough. It's a game we shouldn't have lost," Ibrahimovic told SVT following the defeat.

"We led 1-0 and had a safe lead. We cannot let that happen."

In a tight first half, Sweden looked to feel their way into the game’s intensely humid conditions, often sitting back and looking to hit on the counter attack.

Erik Hamren’s men created the best chance of a tense opening half, as Ibrahimovic peeled away majestically from his marker to give himself acres of space.

It looked as if he had all the time in the world to guide the ball into the corner of the net, but Swedes hung their heads as they watched the ball hit the outside of the post and go wide.

Ibrahimovic was looking in lethal touch in the first half, with his markers finding it difficult to deal with his strength and hold up play.

Ibrahimovic’s opening goal for Sweden finally came early in the second half. With a Ukraine defender lying motionless on the floor, Sebastian Larsson capitalized on the new-found space to drive down the right hand side, and eventually play in a deep cross.

The Ukraine defence couldn’t fully clear, and with the ball falling to Kim Källstrom at the back post, Ibrahimovic pounced on the Lyon midfielders poked cross ball to pass the ball underneath the Ukraine goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

It was exactly the kind of lift-off to a tournament the Swedish captain needed, and he will be hoping to build on this good early form in the rest of the tournament and against stronger opposition.

The goal proved not to be the catalyst for Sweden to go on to win however, as from then on the night belonged to Ukraine’s 35-year-old favourite and former European Player of the Year Shevchenko.

With Sweden looking in command at 1-0, the equalizing goal really came out of nothing. Andriy Yarmalenko put in some smart dribbling work on the right hand side, before delivering a lethal cross for Shevchenko to head in at Swedish keeper Andreas Isaksson’s near post.

Six minutes later there was more glory for Shevchenko.

Oleh Gusev’s inswinging corner was met by the veteran, who had shaken off the sloppy marking of striker Ibrahimovic with some classy movement. His flicked header past the despairing Isaksson put the hosts 2-1 up and sent the home fans into ruptures. It was the moment of glory for Shevchenko that the whole of Ukraine had been waiting for.

Both goals highlighted Sweden’s need to tighten up in defence and in the air, something many experts had earmarked as the main weakness in the Swedish side.

Sweden pressed for an equalizer, and with seconds to spare they spurned a host of guilt-edged chances.

The best chance fell to substitute Johan Elmander – thrown on despite still nursing a foot injury – who after great hold-up work once again by Ibrahimovic, smashed his volley over the bar in a one-on-one situation.

The miss was greeted by a look of dismay from teammate Ibrahimovic, who would have been banking on his strike partner to score after his expert hold-up work.

Olof Mellberg may have also felt he had salvaged a point for Sweden in the dying moments, but his poked volley from a hanging cross looped over the crossbar.

Before the game Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin said it would be curtains in the tournament for whichever side lost this opening game. After being dealt a bitter blow in defeat, Hamren’s men must now pick themselves up for the even trickier prospect of facing England on Friday, followed by France.

The two heavyweight sides in the group played out a 1-1 draw earlier in the evening to leave Sweden bottom of the group, and with an uphill task to advance to the quarter finals.

"Now the situation is we face two games to try and make this situation better," a disconsolate Ibrahimovic added post-match.

Sweden's talisman will now have to emulate the heroics of his Ukrainian counterpart Shevchenko in the tournament's forthcoming games against England and France to keep his nation in the hunt for European glory.

Joe Lynskey

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

08:53 June 12, 2012 by StockholmSam
It was an embarrasing display of football by Sweden. The new coach promised a break from Sweden's traditional style of sitting back on defense while the opposition controls the ball, probing for weaknesses in the Swedish defense. He promised we would not be booming the ball downfield and hoping for a mistake by the opposition. He promised a lively, attacking style with the forwards and midfield controlling the tempo. Unfortunately, what we saw was more of the same. Ukraine toyed with us all night while we just sat back and looked lost. We made them look like Spain with their crisp and clever passing and penetrating runs while we looked like the USA men's team circa 1994, just running around in circles getting tired and occasionally booting the ball downfield. Utterly, utterly pathetic.
09:45 June 12, 2012 by occassional
Maybe Z. can go hunting on his newly acquired island now.
09:45 June 12, 2012 by wolverine2k
And Zlatan didn't play well either. His foot work was all messed up and he was walking as if his legs were made of stick. I couldn't see the stamina and the go getting attitude the footballers should have. Shame...
10:13 June 12, 2012 by Twiceshy
1-0 is a safe lead now?
10:19 June 12, 2012 by djmarko
the group is still wide open, if Sweden wins their next 2 games, they will go through, its even possible for sweden to proceed with a win and a draw taking 4 points
10:41 June 12, 2012 by robban70226
embarrasing embarrasing embarrasing embarrasing, shame shame shame!!!
10:58 June 12, 2012 by kirub
The first half was disappointingly chaotic in the Sweden squad. But later, much later had improved. At times it looked as if their 'luck' would change, but no such luck. And yet they definitely have something going there, if they could find what exactly it is that drives them to try harder or slow down this drive.
11:04 June 12, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
So many 'Job's comforters' on here! Still all to play for

The problem for Sweden was not that they played particularly badly - it was more that Shevchenko was 'inspired' and helped to galvanize tremendous support among the Ukrainian fans.

Ibrahimovic never stopped trying: I thought the Swedish goalkeeper should have organised the defence better when Ukraine got their second goal - how could he have seen what was happening with so many guys in his way?

A good game of football
11:15 June 12, 2012 by StockholmSam
I don't recall whether it was the first or second Ukraine goal, but it was three Ukraine attackers against eight Swedish defenders. How does that even happen at the international level? Sweden plays like a deer in headlights...scared and hesitant.
11:31 June 12, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
...could be the effect of playing a host country, in front of a 'partisan' crowd which may even be worth an extra player

As Twiceshy suggests, a 1-0 lead isn't really a 'safe lead' - Sweden had too many defenders back and it proved counter-productive.
11:50 June 12, 2012 by Jes
Sweden should have sent Loreen instead . It is not too late to end this silly Zlatan project . It is not working .
13:36 June 12, 2012 by ltch65
To be honest, on last nights peformance, I would be surprised if Sweden went through. France and England are stronger sides technically and Ukraine (and only them....) are playing with a bit of passion...

But it is stil wide open. Sweden has to pull something out of the bag to beat England on Friday and be a bit less defensive and have a bit more balls playing up front.

Staking all your hopes on one player in Ibrahimovic is a risky strategy. BUt Sweden probably was a bit unlucky not to get a draw.
15:41 June 12, 2012 by Migga
@ StockholmSam

It was the first goal. Schevchenko was alone in the box with six (!) swedish players and Mellberg got caught on his heels. The swedish backline is horrible.
15:42 June 14, 2012 by euro2012tickets
got tickets on

- 15 june sweden - england 3 cat 4 pcs

100 euro per ticket

- 19 june sweden - france 3 cat 4 pcs

120 euro per ticket

contacts:

euro2012tickets@ukr.net

+38063-1010356
12:47 June 15, 2012 by euro_tix
Tickets to give:

4x SWEDEN - FRANCE (Kyiv), block 31

4x Quaterfinal in Kyiv, block 27, and

4x SEMIFINAL in Donetsk, block 325

1st category, face values!, collection Warsaw or shipping (auction?).

Check my FB profile (facebook.com/euro.ticketss) or:

euro.poland1 (at) gmail.com

skype: mariusz.ang
Today's headlines
Snake hunt after man claims playground bite
The Swedish adder. Photo: Piet Spaans

Snake hunt after man claims playground bite

A man claimed to have been bitten by a poisonous snake at a paddling pool in Gothenburg on Thursday prompting a hunt which ended without a trace of the offending reptile. READ  

Stockholmers sound off on 'beautiful Swedes'
Swedish girls in Stockholm. Photo: Susanne Walström/Imagebank Sweden

Stockholmers sound off on 'beautiful Swedes'

Following a Nordic survey in which Swedes were voted the "most attractive", The Local hit the streets to see what Stockholmers thought. READ  

Sweden keeps eye on Norway bomb threat
Norwegian police car at Oslo Gardemoen Airport. Photo: TT

Sweden keeps eye on Norway bomb threat

The Swedish Security Service (Säpo) have said that an "imminent terror threat" to neighbouring Norway doesn't yet affect Sweden although developments are being closely followed. READ  

Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
The Blomdahl family in Berlin. Photo: Private

Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin

Edvin Blomdahl is seven-years-old. He also cycled from Sweden to Berlin, a journey of 370 kilometres, in four days. READ  

Opinion
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Demonstrations at Sergels Torg in Stockholm. Photo: Kent Vilhelmsson

'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'

As the rhetoric rises at demonstrations in Swedish cities, Stockholm-based Israeli writer David Stavrou calls on Swedes to think before they shout and to cast a critical eye over much that is written and said about the conflict in Gaza. READ  

Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Sweden
The vintage tractor ready to travel from UK to north Norway. Photo: Peter Matheson

Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Sweden

A British man is set next month to drive from Scotland, across Sweden, and to the northern tip of Norway on a vintage tractor to raise money for a cancer charity. READ  

Sweden agency hikes heat warning to 'extreme'
This canine friend is not amused. Photo: TT

Sweden agency hikes heat warning to 'extreme'

Swedish weather agency SMHI has raised its weather warning to class 2, giving notice of "extremely high temperatures" in parts of the country. READ  

Songs for a hot Swedish summer
Ted Gärdestad. Photo: TT

Songs for a hot Swedish summer

Contributor Paul Connolly has put together a list of Swedish songs to capture balmy summer days, which in his neck of the northern woods are pushing the mercury above 35c for the first time in a century. READ  

Swedes suffer as buses boil in the summer sun
Photo: TT

Swedes suffer as buses boil in the summer sun

Stockholm's local traffic authority has received almost 300 complaints since June 1st with many regarding stifling heat on the city's buses, which lack air con. READ  

Grounded flights strand Swedes in Tel Aviv
Photo: Matt Rourke/TT

Grounded flights strand Swedes in Tel Aviv

UPDATE: About 270 passengers planning to fly to Stockholm are still stranded in Tel Aviv, and airlines have stated that flights will likely be grounded on Thursday as well. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
National
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Society
What's On in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching July 23
Blog updates

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 

22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
National
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
National
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
National
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

710
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se