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FT France 0 – 2 Sweden

FT France 0 – 2 Sweden

Sweden have nothing to play for but mischief. France, meanwhile, are set fair. They have not lost for 22 matches and only a defeat by Sweden as heavy as Tomas Brolin could prevent them from making the quarter-finals but Laurent Blanc does not merely want to get there, he also wants to avoid having to come up with a solution to the riddle of how to beat Spain there. So he wants France to top Group D and turning the Swedes to pulp is their best way of doing that (although if England beat Ukraine by more than France beat Sweden, then Spain it is for Les Bleus.

Blanc might have been tempted to deploy Olivier Giroud to exploit Sweden’s well-known aerial shortcomings but he has decided to stick with the tried-and-trusted ploy of one-twoing their way through defences. Hatem Ben Arfa comes in for Jérémy Menez to add extra
ingenuity, while the only other change from the previous game sees the first appearance in the tournament of Yann M’vila, who will start
instead of Yohan Cabaye alongside Alou Diarra in a sturdy central midfield.

At 54′, Wilhelmsson initiated it with some diligent work on the left before Larsson clipped a cross in an Ibrahimovich met it with a magnificent volley from the edge of the area. Lloris didn’t even get a finger to it. 1-0 for Sweden.

At 90′, awful defending allowed Sweden to overrun Les Bleus and when a Wilhelsson shot came back off the bar Larsson thundered it into the roff of the net from eight yards! 2-0 for Sweden.

A fine performance by Sweden crowned with two excellent goals. France, meanwhile, produced a display as lethargic and incoherent as any during their 2010 World Cup misadventure. Play like that against Spain and they will be tonked worse than Ireland were.

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