Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sweden 2-1 France: Late Toivonen winner punishes Lloris

Olivier Giroud at the end of Sweden v France. Image via Getty

Hugo Lloris was left red-faced as Sweden grabbed a last-minute winner to beat France 2-1 after an awful error by the Tottenham goalkeeper.

The hosts went into the game in second place in Group A, three points behind the visitors, and there was little to choose between either side in a close and, initially cagey, first half.

A Dimitri Payet shot wide and a Jimmy Durmaz effort that also missed the target were the closest either side got in the opening stages before Mikael Lusting then went even closer, hooking wide after a great ball from Durmaz.

The game was starting to warm up and there ought to have been an opener on 35 minutes when Bernard Mendy did superbly down the left before sending in an inviting ball for Olivier Giroud who could not get quite enough on the header.

Giroud fires France in front

However, two minutes later the Arsenal striker made amends in superb style. The Frenchman picked up the ball just inside the box, took a touch to tee himself up before volleying sweetly home for his 27th international goal.

It was Giroud’s third strike in his last four internationals and he will not hit many better but Sweden will have felt hard done by to go behind and it showed as they quickly hit back.

Again it was another sweet finish, a cross from the left finding it all the way through to Durmaz in the box who caught it first time with a curling left-footed shot that gave Hugo Lloris no chance at all.

France emerged the brighter after the break and might have restored their lead through Antoine Griezmann, the Atletico Madrid nicking in at the near post to head goalwards but not with enough power to beat Olsen.

A minute later and Sidide found Pogba on the edge of the box but his curling effort flew just wide of the top left corner.

Back came Sweden with Johansson finding himself in acres of space just outside the box and unleashing a ferocious shot that looked destined to beat Lloris before just curling away at the end.

Sweden make their point

Durmaz then tried to catch Lloris out at his near post but the Tottenham keeper was alive to the danger and parried away his effort as Sweden, backed by a noisy home support, gave as good as they got.

The sides then traded free kicks, Griezmann testing Olsen before minutes later Forsberg’s side-footer forced Lloris to tip the ball over.

With 15 minutes to go Didier Deschamps opted to change things throwing on Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Lemar for Griezmann and Payet as the visitors chased the three points.

France dominated the closing stages but they could not find the breakthrough they needed and were made to pay after Lloris made an awful error.

The Spurs stopper tried to do too much, taking the ball out of his box before passing straight to Toivonen who ran straight onto the ball and managed to put it into the back of the net from fully 40 yards to steal the win and top spot in Group A.

Sweden: Olsen 7; Lustig 6, Lindelof 7, Granqvist 7, Augustinsson 7; Durmaz 8 (Claesen 6), Johansson 7, Ekdal 6 (Larsson 6), Forsberg 6.5; Toivonen 8, Berg 6.5 (Guidetti n/a).

Unused subs: Krafth, Helander, Olsson, Sam Larsson, Hiljemark, Jansson, , Nyman, Nordfeldt, Linde.

France: Lloris 3; Sidibe 6.5, Koscielny 6, Varane 6, Mendy 7; Matuidi 6, Pogba 5; Sissoko 5, Griezmann 6 (Mbappe 6), Payet 6 (Lemar 6.5); Giroud 7.

Unused Subs: Digne, Costil, Umtiti, Dembele, Kimpembe, Rabiot, Lacazette, Areola, Jallet, Kante.

Referee: Martin Atkinson


Gill Clark

Gill is a freelance football writer who has spent many years working for Goal, writing and editing news, previews, match reports, ratings, live blogs and just about anything else she can get her hands on.

She now contributes to a variety of online publications, including Soccernews, predominantly covering the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.



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