Swedes aim to seal qualification in Madrid

Swedes aim to seal qualification in Madrid
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix
Six thousand Swedish fans are thought to have made the journey to Madrid to see their team take on Spain in a potentially decisive Euro qualifier on Saturday evening. Sweden go into the game knowing that a point will be enough to secure advancement to next summer's European Championships.

But Swedish preparations have been blighted by injuries to key players. Midfield dynamo Tobias Linderoth has already been ruled out of the match, as have Johan Elmander and Niclas Alexandersson.

The Swedish starting eleven can however walk onto the pitch at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium with some degree of confidence having already beaten the Spaniard once in the qualifying campaign.

That 2-0 victory, sealed with goals from Johan Elmander and Marcus Allbäck, represented one of Sweden’s best performances in recent years. And coach Lars Lagerbäck made sure to dust off the video of the home win ahead of Saturday’s game to remind his players that they are more than capable of getting something out of their visit to the Spanish capital.

Sweden lead Group F going into the last two rounds of matches. Should group rivals Northern Ireland fail to beat Denmark in Belfast in a game that begins earlier in the evening, the result in Spain will become somewhat irrelevant as Sweden will qualify for Euro 2008 by default.

Sweden face Latvia in their final Group F match on Wednesday.