Sweden awarded win as supporter attacks referee

The Euro 2008 Group F qualifier between Sweden and Denmark on Saturday night ended in controversy, with Sweden awarded victory after a Danish supporter attacked the referee at Copenhagen's Parken.

The match had already been dramatic in the extreme, with Denmark fighting back from 3-0 down to level the score 15 minutes from time.

But with two minutes remaining on the clock the fan ran onto the pitch and charged towards German referee Herberg Fandel, who had just sent off Denmark defender Christian Poulsen for punching Sweden’s Markus Rosenberg.

The supporter was dragged away by Danish players but managed to land a blow on the referee’s jaw.

The incident concluded a remarkable game. After seven minutes, a mistake by the Danish defence allowed Johan Elmander to calmly slot the ball home.

Petter Hansson’s deflected free kick doubled the score on 22 minutes and just three minutes afterwards Elmander made it three.

It was a dream start for Sweden but the game was far from over. Daniel Agger’s strike on 33 minutes gave the Danes hope going into half time and as the second half began the men in red were the livelier.

A confident Jon Dahl Tomasson left the Swedish defence standing, and keeper Andreas Isaksson sprawling, with a fine strike in the 61st minute and a third goal for Denmark seemed inevitable.

Leon Andreasen scored the equalizer in the 75th minute but it counted for little as the game disintegrated.

As Christian Poulsen was sent off, Swedish captain Fredrik Ljungberg stepped up to the penalty spot awaiting the signal from the referee. But when it came, the signal was not to take the penalty but to abandon the game.

After several minutes of confusion the scoreboard at Parken revealed that the match had been awarded to Sweden by a scoreline of 3-0 since the referee had felt threatened by the public.

However, in a statement afterwards UEFA said: “The result of the contest will be confirmed following an investigation by the UEFA disciplinary committee upon receipt of the referee and delegate reports.”

Speaking to SVT after the game, Sweden’s manager Lars Lagerbäck said: “This was a game that was maybe too entertaining but that ended very tragically.”

The result, if it stands, all but rules out Denmark’s participation in the Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland.