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Denmark 2 Sweden 2 (3-4 agg): Inspired Ibrahimovic seals qualification

Zlatan Ibrahimovic guaranteed Sweden’s place at Euro 2016 with an inspired two-goal performance as a 2-2 draw with Denmark secured a 4-3 aggregate play-off win.

Ibrahimovic, who has declared his intention to call time on his international career following the tournament in France, gave the visitors the lead in Copenhagen against the run of play midway through the first half, before adding a sensational second after the interval.

Sweden’s opener came shortly after Kim Kallstrom had been just inches away from putting into his own net.

Kasper Schmeichel impressively denied Ibrahimovic a second of the night, but the Paris Saint-Germain forward doubled his tally soon after, curling in a sublime free-kick to put one foot firmly in the tournament.

Erik Hamren’s men were made to sweat as Yussuf Poulsen and Jannik Vestergaard netted late on.

But, with Denmark requiring another two goals in stoppage time, there was little they could do to prevent their Scandinavian rivals from advancing.

After an impeccably observed minute’s silence following last week’s terror attacks in Paris, Denmark – buoyed by Nicolai Jorgensen’s late goal in the first leg – started well, almost making their supremacy count as Kallstrom deflected Poulsen’s effort onto the crossbar of Sweden’s goal.

Despite their promising start, the hosts found themselves behind 20 minutes in, Ibrahimovic – who scored a first goal of his extensive career against Denmark in the first leg – nudging Sweden ahead with a deft half-volley after latching onto Kallstrom’s corner.

Schmeichel made a fantastic save to deny Ibrahimovic a second as the half-hour mark approached, with Andreas Isaksson parrying away Christian Eriksen’s dipping free-kick at the other end.

Ibrahimovic was at the heart of the next chance, effortlessly shaking off two defenders to race onto Sebastian Larsson’s over-hit pass before drilling in a venomous cross that flicked over via an unwitting Daniel Agger.

Denmark started the second half in similar fashion to the first, and were almost rewarded for their efforts when Andreas Granqvist turned Jorgensen’s curling delivery just wide of his own upright.

Eriksen looked set to restore parity when he drilled in a powerful strike from the edge of the box, but Isaksson made a superb save to nudge it wide.

And Denmark were again made to pay for their lack of cutting-edge a few moments later, Ibrahimovic giving Schmeichel no chance with a  pin-point swerving free-kick from 25 yards out.

Poulsen pulled one back 10 minutes remaining, and the Parken crowd were on their feet as Vestergaard bundled home from a chaotic corner kick.

However, there was too much for Denmark to do, as coach Morten Olsen’s 16-year tenure was brought to an end in underwhelming circumstances.

Tue 17 Nov, 2015
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