Sweden sink to French defeat without Zlatan

Sweden sink to French defeat without Zlatan
Sweden's Pierre Bengtsson and France's Andre-Pierre Gignac clash in the match on November 18th 2014. AP Photo/Claude Paris
The national side were without their talisman for the friendly against France and came up short against the Euro 2016 hosts.

A goal from centre-back Raphael Varane settled the contest six minutes from time to give France a 1-0 win. Karim Benzema missed a penalty shortly afterwards for the hosts, but the result was never really in doubt. 

France dominated possession throughout against a dogged Swedish side who rarely threatened. The hosts had 28 attempts at a goal compared to just five for the visitors. 

But the home side were unable to force a breakthrough until the latter stages. Varane breached the deadlock when he headed home a corner from Antoine Griezmann.

The result ensured France remained unbeaten since the June-July World Cup as they build up to hosting Euro 2016 with a number of friendlies. It also went some way to erasing the embarrassment of last Friday's 1-1 draw with unfancied Albania in Rennes.

Sweden had a handful of chances and were unlucky not to take the lead when Ibrahimovic's replacement Isaac Thelin spurning decent opportunities either side of the break. 

Coach Erik Hamrén conceded that Les Bleus were simply better than his team on the night. 

"Sometimes you just have to praise the opposition and that is the case tonight," he told TV4 after the match.

Sweden will play their next competitive match against Moldova in March in a qualifier for Euro 2016. 

The Local/pr


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