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Sweden clinches pre-Euro friendly win over Serbia

05 Jun 2012 21:17:43

Sweden clinches pre-Euro friendly win over Serbia

Sweden beat Serbia 2-1 in their final pre-Euro friendly on Wednesday, securing an encouraging victory which nonetheless raised questions about whether the team's defence is up to scratch ahead of Euro 2012.

Sweden started off the scoring in the 23rd minute after Serbia's keeper Branimir Aleksic fumbled the ball on a Swedish corner and Ola Toivonen tapped it through the posts with his heel.

But Serbia equalised just four minutes later, after a tackle by midfielder Anders Svensson gave Serbia a free kick that led to a corner which Neven Subotic headed in between two Swedish defenders.

Serbian keeper Damir Kahriman, who replaced Aleksic at the start of the second half, pulled down Toivonen and earned Sweden a penalty kick in the 52nd minute, which Zlatan Ibrahimovic blasted into the far-left corner to produce Sweden's winning goal.

Sweden's attackers picked up the tempo in the second-half.

But despite the win, the hosts looked shaky and uncertain, nowhere near the smooth-playing and united team seen during training camp, raising as to whether coach Erik Hamren would be able to iron out the wrinkles before the Euros start.

Also of concern was Sweden's starting goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson, who left the pitch in the 71st minute with a slight groin injury -- both good and bad news as Swedish fans breathed a sigh of relief it wasn't his recurring shoulder problem that has sidelined him in the past.

Sweden has been paired alongside England, France and co-hosts Ukraine in Group D at Euro 2012, which runs from June 8 to July 1 in Poland and Ukraine.


AFP

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