• Sweden's news in English

Sweden saves face with win over France

20 Jun 2012, 07:32

Published: 20 Jun 2012 07:32 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A brilliant bicycle kick by Sweden's inspirational captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 54th minute gave them the lead with the outstanding Sebastian Larsson adding a second in the final minute of normal time.

It handed the Swedes not only their first points of the group stage but also their first win over France in almost 43 years dating back to October 1969.

The French, who also saw their 23-match unbeaten run ended, progress in second place in the group after England beat co-hosts Ukraine 1-0 in the other game to finish top.

France - who last reached the knockout stages of a major final in the 2006 World Cup - will play champions Spain in the last eight.

France coach Laurent Blanc was seething at the performance.

"Sweden played this match with its heart. Physically, they were better prepared and they had a player in the team who made the difference, which makes a hell of a difference.

"We are really disappointed by this result but we were in trouble throughout the match. When you lose a match, it is because you have not got the right team out there.

"Therefore, if I was to start it all over, we would not start with the same team."

France defensive midfielder Yann M'Vila said he and the rest of the squad had to turn up in a different frame of mind for the Spanish game.

"We came upon a team that was far stronger than us," admitted M'Vila.

"We are going to play Spain, the world and defending champions.

"It is up to us to show another side to our game and to prove that we can go far in this competition."

Swedish coach Erik Hamren said his team had improved across the tournament even if they had both managed to reach the last eight - though he recognized that France had had plenty of chances.

"I am proud of my players even if there is a bit of pain and it hurts. There is sadness after this game," Hamren admitted.

Ibrahimovic dedicated his man of the match award to his teammates and told reporters: "We have a good team but on a personal and individual level we have room for improvement. Today we wanted to give our fans a present - in this atmosphere we felt as if we were playing at home."

The Swedes should have gone ahead in the eighth minute as Ola Toivonen - who had replaced the injured Johan Elmander up front - was played onside and with only Hugo Lloris to beat. However, although he rounded the goalkeeper he found the angle too tight and his shot hit the post.

The French pressed from the start of the second-half with Karim Benzema finding some space and curling the ball just past the far post.

However, instead of sparking the French into some urgency it prompted the Swedes into their best period of play with Lloris pulling off one fine save in the 53rd minute.

A minute later he was unable to do anything about Ibrahimovic's stunning bicycle kick from Larsson's superb cross -- Ibrahimovic in typical celebratory style standing stock still and raising his hands pointing a finger of each hand at the sky.

Story continues below…

France were wilting in the heat of the night and would have been 2-0 down minutes later but Olof Mellberg's header was tipped over the bar in extremis by Lloris.

Another of the Swedish veterans Christian Wilhelmsson - like Mellberg expected to retire from international football after this match - then went close himself but his shot too was turned away for a corner.

The French were defending with increasing desperation and it was no surprise that central defender Philippe Mexes picked up a booking for an overly physical challenge that rules him out of the quarter-final.

The Swedes pace slowed, though, and France began to have the lion's share of possession which almost bore fruit when M'Vila - who had earned his first start of the tournament having recovered from an ankle injury – switched neatly from his left to right foot and fired a fierce shot just wide of the target.

Substitute Oliver Giroud should have done better from a late corner as he rose unmarked but his header went over the bar - and instead it was to be the Swedes who deservedly wrapped up victory through Larsson.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

09:53 June 20, 2012 by gpafledthis
Rah Rah !! ah modern sweedie thought Face/Image before substance ! Just take a seat at McD's and think about this national works project of yours "Ja ve build the best god damn road to perdition you ever see" 100% Sweden too
12:43 June 20, 2012 by theibmsstate
goverment spend a lot of money on sweden football team to win only one match.lol.french give that winning match as a gift to sweden.
13:13 June 20, 2012 by Jes
Laurent Blanc makes patronizing statements when he says that Sweden was "too strong " for them . The fact is that is if France that played a "weak" game . France played as if they did not want to win .

I suspect that they were somewhat sure that they would qualify for the next phase -where it is either in-form Italy or boring and off-form Spain.

It is a pity that Sweden has resorted to playing for a "saving face".
13:35 June 20, 2012 by kirub
Yeah, but winning from Sweden would have given France reason to say, "I'm sorry, actually we didn't want to win this match."
14:54 June 20, 2012 by theibmsstate
french football team is much better
18:49 June 20, 2012 by Tarc the Mexan
#5: apparently not, seeing as they lost.
21:44 June 20, 2012 by theibmsstate
french team qualified for quarter final...
23:48 June 20, 2012 by Washingtonsman
Who really cares, right?
07:11 June 21, 2012 by theibmsstate
everybody cares lol. i love french football team
Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available