Friday 15 December 2017

Zlatan on double as Swedes and Ukraine book Euro spots

Ibrahimovic celebrates
Ibrahimovic celebrates

A stunning double from captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave Sweden a 2-2 draw away to Denmark as they qualified for Euro 2016 last night by 4-3 on aggregate against their Scandinavian rivals.

Ibrahimovic silenced the home fans in the 19th minute when he ghosted out to meet Kim Kallstrom's corner, twisting athletically to sweep the ball past flat-footed goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Then he punished the Danes for their failure to create chances with a beautiful curling free kick in the 76th minute to send the Swedes closer to a place in France next year.

Late goals by Yussuf Poulsen and Jannik Vestergaard provided some comfort for the home fans.


Striker Nicklas Bendtner had a game to forget in his home town, and was widely booed when he was replaced by Morten Rasmussen on the hour.

Ibrahimovic eschewed his usual array of flicks and tricks in favour of hard defensive work, inspiring his side to cover every blade of grass on the Parken pitch.

It was an effort that paid off handsomely, thanks to the striker's double.

Meanwhile, Ukraine won their first-ever play-off to qualify for France next year thanks to last night's 1-1 draw in Slovenia (Ukraine winning 3-1 on aggregate).

Bostjan Cesar gave Slovenia hope when he opened the scoring in the 11th minute, but an injury-time strike from Yengeny Yarmolenko ensured Ukraine's ticket to next summer's Euro 2016 event.

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