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Preview: Sweden – Spain

SoccerNews in European Championships 13 Jun 2008

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Sweden and Spain face each other in their second Euro 2008 Group D match, and the side that wins is practically through to the quarter finals.

Sweden have been dubbed absolute underdogs for this match. Coach Lars Lagerback will be without midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson, who suffered a tear of his left hamstring during the match with Greece on Tuesday.

And defender Niclas Alexandersson will have to sit out the clash as well as result of a strained calf muscle. The 36-year-old should be fit in time for the last group match though.

Key player Anders Svensson is hopeful ahead of the match: “Spain are one of the teams most comfortable on the ball in the world – we probably won’t have much possession when we play them. But such matches can be won too.”

Spain’s attack meanwhile, will once again be led by David Villa who became only the eighth player to score three goals in a single European Championships final tournament match.

Villa will have to take a painkiller or two after breaking his finger while celebrating one of his goals against Russia.

And whether Fernando Torres forms part of the starting line-up remains unclear. The player would normally be included but refused to shake coach Aragones’ hand after getting subbed off against Greece. Aragones has announced that he would not let that behaviour go by unpunished.

Sweden and Spain also shared the same group in Euro 2008 qualification, and both teams won their home matches. The last clash at a final tournament was won by Spain, at the 1978 World Cup.

Dutchman Pieter Vink, who also led the match between Austria and Croatia and gave an early penalty to the Croatians in that game, is the referee and will be assisted by linesmen Adriaan Inia and Hans ten Hoove, as well as fourth official Craig Thomson of Scotland.

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