A lot of history is shared between the two neighbouring countries which met for the 104th time in their first leg of the Euro 2016 play-off.
Saturday night’s match offered a lot of excitement for the crowd at the Nya Ulevi Stadion, with Sweden coming out on top with the 2-1 victory. Emil Forsberg opened the scorings for Sweden with his well-placed shot in the dying moments of the first interval, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubled the score from the penalty kick on 50 minutes.
The visitors did manage to pull one back, having scored through Jorgensen with ten minutes on the clock, and will be happy with the goal since they had nothing to show off for the most part of the game. Their hopes of reaching the final stage of the Euro 2016 are still alive and we are sure in for a thrilling return leg in Denmark on Tuesday.
In the meantime, listed below are the five things we have learned from the much anticipated Scandinavian derby, the highlight game of the Euro 2016 play-off.
Ibrahimovic (still) the world-class
Sweden captain has tonight played his 750th match for club and country in Sweden, and the talismanic striker has scored 412 goals in the process. The 34-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come under a fair share of criticism lately in his club Paris Saint-Germain, but has once again proved indispensable for the Swedish national team.
The experienced Swede has been a constant threat to Denmark defence, taking on rivals and putting pressure in the final third.
Ibrahimovic scored the second goal for his team, and had a number of opportunities to increase his goal tally. PSG forward worked hard to create chances for his teammates as well. On 22 minutes mark Ibra sent a wonderful cross to find Marcus Berg inside the box, but Denmark defenders did well to deny the opportunity. Ten minutes later, Zlatan produced a fine pass out to Marcus Berg once again, but his effort was poorly executed from inside the box.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic carried the team on his shoulders for much of the proceedings and most notably in the first half, during the period of pressure from the Denmark opposition. The towering striker had a good goalscoring opportunity on 40 minutes when he set up the ball on the edge of the penalty area and sliced it narrowly wide off the right post.
In the added time to the first half, Zlatan Ibrahimovic produced a stunning free kick, but Kasper Schmeichel did wonderfully to block the fantastic efforts.
Ibrahimovic continued with his inspiring performance in the second half as well, as was deservedly awarded with a goal in the game. He scored from the penalty with a precise shot inside the left post, following the foul on Lewicki.
Sweden captain was forced out of the game with ten minutes on the clock, but the general conclusion is that the hosts’ key man produced a strong performance, leading his side to a hard-fought victory.
Bendtner (no longer) the world class
Denmark striker had a quiet game in Sweden. Nicklas Bendtner has been expected to lead the attack following his fantastic run in the national team, but has failed to meet the expectations. Former Arsenal striker has played a direct hand in Denmark’s last six goals, contributing to his country’s haul to the Euro 2016 play-off.
Tightly guarded by the Swedish defence, Bendtner was not the stand out performer in his team tonight and will have plenty of reasons to be unhappy with his general display.
Renowned for his wastefulness in front of goal, Denmark forward was once again under the spotlight for wrong reasons. On 25 minutes Bendtner received a precise lofted cross inside the box, attempted a quick low shot towards the middle of the goal. However, his effort lacked pace and allowed Isaksson to intervene comfortably.
Once a huge prospect brought to Arsenal by Arsene Wenger is not the player he once was and could have been. With his Wolfsburg career under doubt, the Dane could be in for a change of scenery in the January transfer window.
Sweden tactically mature
Despite the poor start to the game, when Denmark was allowed more space and ball-control, the hosts showed tactical and technical dominance which resulted in a much deserved win.
Eric Hamren’s team was nicely organized in all areas and the possession of 60.3% to Denmark’s 39.7% is the definite proof. Sweden had a pass success rate of admirable 82% and the hosts showcased great composure for much of the showings.
With their defence players actively involved in attacking exploits, most notably through Olsson, Sweden were constant danger to Schmeichel’s goal.
Denmark midfield lost the game
With only opening 20 minutes to boast for, Denmark had little to show off in their first leg of the Euro 2016 play-off against Sweden.
Braithwaite, Kahlenberg, Eriksen and Fischer were faced with a Swedish wall and unable to breach past the backline to the cut-off Nicklas Bendtner.
With little support from their own back four, Denmark midfielders got to an intercepted play and misplaced passes in numerous occasions.
The long-serving Denmark coach Morten Olsen was clearly displeased with his players and was forced to bring three of his four midfielders out of play in the second half of the game. The introduction of Jorgensen proved crucial to the game, as the FC Copenhagen player scored a sole goal for his team.
Christian Eriksen deserves a top club
Star player in Denmark team, the 23-year-old Tottenham playmaker has once again proved his worth. On his way to become a world-class player, Christian Eriksen displayed his fascinating technical ability in numerous occasion in the game.
Set-pieces caretaker stood out with his magical through ball to Niclas Betndner, behind the back of Sweden back four, but Wolfsburg marksman struck the ball well wide off the left post.
With seven games in the national team and nine for his club this season, Christian Eriksen is enjoying a fine season. Tottenham might very well prepare for a busy winter market, as the Denmark star will be one of the hottest properties around.
He was tipped to leave the White Hart Lane last summer, and London-based club will have plenty of difficulties keeping him past the ongoing season.
SWEDEN: Isaksson 6.5 – Lustig 8, Antonsson6.5, Granqvist 7, Olsson 7 – Durmaz 6.5 (Larsson 6), Lewicki 7, Kallstrom 6, Forsberg 7.5 (M. Lustig 6) – Ibrahimovic 8(Guidetti -), Berg 6.5.
Subs not used: Zengin, Calgren, Olsen, Toivonen, Hiljemark, Khalili, Svensson, Kujovic, Bengtsson.
DENMARK: Schmeichel 6.5 – Jacobsen 6.5, Kjaer 7.5, Agger 7, Durmisi 6.5– Kvist 6.5 – Braithwaite 5.5 (Poulsen), Kahlenberg 5.5 (Jorgensen 7), Eriksen 7.5, Fischer 6.5 (Hojbjerg) – Bendtner 5.5.
Subs not used: Lossl, Delaney, Jensen, Vestergaard, Andersen, Wass, S. Poulsen, J. Poulsen, Christensen.
REFEREE: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
Other results this evening:
Ukraine 2-0 Slovenia
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