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France vs Sweden - England's victory sends defeated France into quarterfinals against Spain

By Matthieu Boisseau
20/06/2012

Humiliating defeat against Sweden (2-0) can't prevent France from reaching the quarterfinals thanks to England kicking the Ukraine out of Euro 2012 (1-0). The Three Lions are now top of group D and will be to playing against Italy, while Les Bleus will face Spain, the incumbent World Champion and European Champion, on Sunday.

One miserable loss againt Sweden was enough to dash the confidence that the French team had been gaining thanks to its 23-game unbeaten run. But the facts could not be clearer les Bleus were no match for a the powerful and dazzling Sweden on the night.

Did Laurent Blanc’s squad underestimate their Nordic opponents, who lost their first two games and had nothing to lose? This was a fatal error, as the height and power of Sweden severely traumatized France’s lack of defence.

With a very British-like ‘kick and rush’ style of play, resting on aerial domination, Sweden punished Les Bleus for looking as lethargic and incoherent as they did during the 2010 World Cup disaster.

Ten minutes after kickoff, Swedish forward Toivonen gave France an early warning by just failing to convert Mexes’ missed header into goal.

Only amazing saves from wonder-captain Lloris had been preventing France from falling further behind, until Larsson crossed to Ibrahimovich who sent a magnificent scissor-kick volley from the edge of the area - likely to be contender for best goal of the tournament.

It almost looked as if France had forgotten how to play football, as they never even tried to build pressure on Sweden’s players. Larsson then killed off the game by smashing home Holmen’s shot that had hit the bar. In spite of my patriotic feeling, truth must be told : this was a well deserved victory for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his teammates.

Laurent Blanc’s lads still progress to a quarter-final, but no doubt they will have to shake themselves if they are to avoid a humiliation by Spain.

Sweden– France : 2-0. Goals by Ibrahimovic (54) and Larsson (94)

Sweden:Isaksson, Granqvist, Mellberg, J. Olsson, M. Olsson, Svensson (Holmen, 79), Kallstrom, Larsson, Ibrahimovic, Bajrami (Wilhelmsson, 46), Toivonen (Wernbloom, 78).

France :Lloris; Debuchy, Rami, Mexes, Clichy; Nasri (Ménez, 77), Diarra, M'vila (Giroud, 83); Ben Arfa (Malouda, 59), Benzema, Ribéry.

Ref:Proenca (Portugal)

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