Euro 2008

Qualifying group F

Sweden 2 - Spain 0

Sweden: Shaaban; Nilsson, Mellberg, Hansson, Edman; Alexandersson, Linderoth, Svensson (Kallstrom 75'), Ljungberg (Wilhelmsson 56'); Allback, Elmander (Andersson 77'). 4-4-2.
Spain: Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Puyol, Juanito, Capdevila (Antonio Puerta 52'); Angulo (Luis García 59'), Albelda, Xavi, Cesc (Iniesta 46'); David Villa, Fernando Torres. 4-4-2.

1-0. 10. Elmander. Picked up pass on right of area and shot low past Casillas.
2-0. 82. Allback. Collected Wilhelmsson cross and rounded Casillas to score.

A second defeat in a row left Spain floundering down in fifth spot of their group table. Luis Aragonés had made several changes to the line up which lost in Northern Ireland, the most controversial of which was the omission of Raúl from the squad for the first time (other than injury) for ten years. Capdevila and Angulo, who had had to watch the World Cup from their armchairs, were included in a starting line up which looked lop-sided with three central midfield players.

The Scandinavians took the lead in only the tenth minute when Elmander ran on to a long pass to shoot low past Casillas, and although Sergio Ramos and David Villa went close at the other end, the Toulouse striker could have put his side further ahead when he rattled the crossbar on the half hour mark. The first half finished with a dangerous free kick for Spain, but Villa could only fire his kick in to the defensive wall.

Aragonés brought on Iniesta for Cesc at the break and soon afterwards gave Antonio Puerta his first cap, and Spain continued to push forward looking for the goal. Second choice keeper Shaaban blocked an effort from Fernando Torres at point blank range, and then deflected a shot from Villa down and over the bar, and Juanito headed Xavi's free kick just wide.

But with Spain still claiming that an effort from Puyol had crossed the line in another attack, Wilhemsson broke free on a rapid breakaway and set up Allback for him to leave Casillas and Puyol stranded and roll the ball in to the net. It was the final blow, and after the match the Spanish press cried out in unison for the head of the coach. Sweden are out of sight with three wins out of three, but results in the other games means there is still hope. However unless a miracle happens, somebody else will be in charge of "la selección" when the qualifying games return in March.