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EURO2012

Elmander fitness boosts Swedish Euro hopes

Sweden striker Johan Elmander came through training on Friday for the first time since the Galatasaray star broke a toe in the final Turkish league game of the season, team sources said.

Elmander fitness boosts Swedish Euro hopes

The 30-year-old former Toulouse and Bolton striker suffered the injury on May 12th and hopes to be fit for Monday’s opening Group D match against Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine although no decision was expected before Saturday at the earliest.

Elmander is a key player under coach Erik Hamrén playing at the apex of the attack in front of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The former Bolton player’s progress means that Sweden’s coach will have almost a full squad to choose from for Monday’s game, with only central defender Daniel Majstorovic ruled out with a long-term injury.

Despite being at full strength, Hamrén has played down Sweden’s chances, in their Euro opener, pointing to Ukraine’s home advantage.

“They’ve got the support of the home country. That’s the reason why they’re obviously favourites,” for the Group D opener on Monday in Kiev, Hamrén said to journalists this week after the team arrived at their Kiev base.

Sweden will also play France and England in the group, with the Scandinavians coming into the tournament on a high after a 3-2 friendly win against Iceland and a 2-1 victory over Serbia.

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FOOTBALL

Spectacular Zlatan goal voted ‘best of Euro 2012’

A stunning goal scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Sweden's Euro 2012 match against France has been voted the best goal of the football tournament.

Spectacular Zlatan goal voted 'best of Euro 2012'

The honour for the Swedish striker comes based on fan votes submitted on the official UEFA website.

The goal, which came in the 54th minute of Sweden’s first round 2-0 victory against France, was chosen as the most outstanding by some 39.9 percent of the voters.

“For sheer technique alone, this requires such lofty recognition,” UEFA wrote on its website.

“A truly talismanic effort from the Sweden captain.”

Despite Sweden having already being eliminated from the tournament after losses to Ukraine and England, Zlatan’s goal was the catalyst in the victory against France.

The goal, a thunderous strike in midair from the top of box following a cross from Sebastian Larsson, saw Sweden take a second-half lead against the French.

Zlatan no doubt made use of his black belt Taekwondo skills as he slammed the football into the left hand bottom corner of the net past the outstretched arms of Hugo Lloris.

Other goals gaining recognition in the poll included Jordi Alba’s goal for Spain in the final against Italy, which came in at second place, with 17 percent of the votes, while a strike by Italy’s Mario Balotelli against Germany in their semi-final clash came in third with almost 11 percent.

Meanwhile, Zlatan was the only player from the Swedish side to make the UEFA Euro 2012 “Team of the Tournament”.

In a 23-man squad handpicked by UEFA staff and dominated by the presence of ten Spaniards, Zlatan is the sole Swede, representing his nation up front.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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