Danes end Sweden's World Cup dream
Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 11 Oct 2009, 09:22
Published: 11 Oct 2009 09:22 GMT+02:00
Sweden's coach Lars Lagerbäck took a team determined to make amends for a 0-1 home defeat in Solna in June and promised that his team would "own Parken" stadium.
But despite the industry expected of a Swedish national team the match and the result leave Sweden's World Cup dream hanging by a Maltese thread after Portugal disposed of Hungary 3-0 at home in Lisbon.
While the Danes can celebrate claiming the automatic qualification spot, Sweden in third are now hoping that the minnows of Malta can cause an upset when they travel to Lisbon in the final round of group 1 games.
A hectic match, low on quality but high on passion and commitment, was decided by a Jakob Poulsen goal in the 79th minute.
The Swedes managed to find the net on two occasions in a strong second half display only for the efforts to be ruled out for offside, and ball out of play.
As expected Barcelona star Zlatan Ibrahimovic was at the heart of most of the Swedish attacks although the Danish rearguard, marshalled by Liverpool defender Daniel Agger, keep the clear chances to a minimum.
Lars Lagerbäck, who has taken Sweden to five straight major championship finals, was visibly shaken in the post-match press conference but refused to call time on either his tenure or the Swedish hopes of reaching South Africa.
"It is not over before all the matches have been played and all the points counted," Lagerbäck underlined.
Sweden now remain on 15 points with Portugal, in second on 16 points and with a superior goal difference.
The Swedes will need a win against Albania on Wednesday and a Maltese miracle to get out of what has long since come to be known as the group of death.