Wales signed off their Euro 2016 preparations with a 3-0 loss to Sweden in Stockholm on Sunday, stretching their winless run to four matches.
With Gareth Bale named among the substitutes at the Friends Arena following his Champions League-winning exploits with Real Madrid last weekend, it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Sweden who dominated possession and chances throughout.
And Ibrahimovic was key to the hosts’ opener, teeing up Emil Forsberg to find the net from the edge of the box after 40 minutes.
Mikael Lustig forced the Swedes’ second over the line 12 minutes after the break, before John Guidetti wrapped up the win three minutes from time, sending Erik Hamren’s side into their tournament opener against Republic of Ireland on the back of a first win in four.
Bale was introduced in the 64th minute by manager Chris Coleman, but he was unable to salvage a result for Wales, who face Slovakia in Bordeaux next Saturday.
Sweden, host nation of the 1958 World Cup, was a fitting location for Wales to finalise preparations for their first major tournament appearance in 58 years, but it was the hosts who posed the early threat, with Martin Olsson firing high and wide from close range after being played in by Ibrahimovic.
Lustig then headed over from a corner as Wales struggled to settle, although Jonny Williams and Aaron Ramsey both looked bright – quite literally in the case of the latter’s new peroxide blonde hairstyle – when called upon in attack.
Williams and Ramsey formed part of an unfamiliar midfield and forward line-up for Wales, joining Andy King, David Vaughan and Sam Vokes in front of Chris Coleman’s first-choice back line. Of the five, only the Arsenal man would be considered a guaranteed starter in France with everyone fit.
Ibrahimovic’s first chance to test Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey came after 20 minutes, but the outgoing Paris Saint-Germain striker dragged his shot well wide of the left-hand post from the edge of the penalty area.
Half-hearted appeals for a penalty against James Chester for handball were dismissed by referee Tobias Welz 10 minutes from half-time, but Forsberg soon put the hosts in front.
Ibrahimovic drove down the left as Sweden mounted a quick counter-attack, squaring the ball for the advancing Forsberg to place a shot into the bottom left-hand corner from 18 yards.
Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson did not emerge for the second half after struggling with an apparent back problem during the opening 45 minutes – Robin Olsen his replacement.
Wales’ only change also came between the posts as Danny Ward came on for Hennessey, and the Liverpool keeper was almost beaten by a Marcus Berg chip within three minutes of the restart. A desperate clearance off the line by Chester spared his blushes.
Sweden continued to control proceedings, with Forsberg proving a persistent menace to the Welsh defence, but it was Lustig who eventually doubled the advantage.
Erik Johansson’s header was blocked on the line by Neil Taylor and the rebound fell kindly for Lustig, who, after having his own first attempt blocked, slotted the ball beyond Ward.
Anyone hoping for a head-to-head between Ibrahimovic and Bale was left disappointed as the two effectively switched places shortly after the hour mark, but Guidetti capped off the win for Sweden by applying a composed finish to another swift counter.
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