Group C Review
This was a game where Sweden supposedly stood no chance of winning (and thus qualifying) and only a bizarre set of results on the night would be enough to deny France progression to the quarter finals. Little did we know.
France’s best moves early on came from Ribery on the left who was giving right back Andreas Granqvist a torrid night but few clear cut opportunities were to come France’s way as the Swedes held strong.
Instead, Sweden had the best chances through Ola Toivonen who had clipped a post on 12 minutes before then putting a decent headed chance over the bar. Some lazy runs into an offside position squandered some decent positional play as the half wore on.
Scoreless at half-time the game didn’t look like it would burst into life, but suddenly Sweden conjured a goal from nothing on 54 minutes thanks to a vintage piece of Zlatan Ibrahimovic magic. As the ball swung in from the left, the AC Milan striker swivelled and hammered an unstoppable volley past Lloris, potentially the goal of Euro 2012 so far.
Sweden’s captain had been a little subdued up this point but his strike saw his side take a well deserved lead. For a time, France were a little flat and were restricted to long range efforts. When they did advance into the penalty area, the Sweden backline held firm.
However, Arsenal target Olivier Giroud was introduced on 83 minutes and should have scored with his first touch as a corner from the left found him unmarked. But he connected poorly and it sailed wide.
France still looked the more likely to add to the goal tally but as injury time approached, Sweden countered and with the defence stretched, Seb Larsson settled the game with a fine volley.
The 2-0 defeat sees France sheepishly progress in second place in Group D where they now meet Spain in the quarter finals.
An poor French performance here means they are 4.25 to win that game in 90 minutes while Spain are favourites at 1.80. Laurent Blanc’s side were third favourites at one point to win the trophy but have now slipped to sixth in the betting and can be found at odds of 11.00 to repeat their success of 2000.