Fri, 06 Aug 2021

Sweden edges Slovakia at Euro 2020 (updated)

Xinhua
19 Jun 2021, 02:30 GMT+10

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Sweden striker Alexander Isak was the man of the match as the Swedes overcame a poor first half to claim a vital 1-0 win against Slovakia in the Euro 2020 here on Friday.

Sweden has conceded just one goal in their last seven matches and collected four points from their two group games. They intend to secure a berth into the last 16 in the last game against Poland on June 23.

The first 45 minutes were hard going for fans, with Sweden struggling to create anything against a rival who decided not to play a specialist striker and consequently lacked a focal point in attack or anyone to try and make runs to stretch the Swedish defense.

Sweden also lacked ambition after their draw with Spain in their opening game, although they had few problems in keeping the Slovaks at bay with a relatively narrow defense and sat deeper and deeper as the half progressed.

Isak was isolated in attack in the first half, but things changed drastically after the half time break.

Swedish keeper Robin Olsen produced a reflex save to deny Juraj Kucka's header, while at the other end Martin Dubravka was at full stretch to parry Ludwig Augustinsson's header from Sebastian Larsson's perfect cross.

From the following corner, Marcus Danielsson nodded over after Isak nodded the ball back across the face of goal and shortly afterwards Isak saw a shot deflected wide as the Swedes finally began to come to life.

Isak then headed Lustig's cross just over as the Swedes continued to press for a winner and then drew a low save from Dubravka after a mazy run which saw him twist and turn past three defenders before firing in a low shot at the near post.

In the 76th minute, Emil Forsberg calmly converted the penalty with a powerful shot to the corner. The penalty was awarded after Robin Quaison was brought down in the box.

"It feels absolutely amazing. I am extremely happy. It's very nice to win. We only played half a first half, but were better in the second. We know we're mentally strong. It was a fantastic piece of play from Quaison that led to the penalty," said Forsberg.

"It's good to have four points after two games. We've played seven games this year, and conceded just one goal. Our attack deserved more today, they were fantastic at times," said Janne Andersson, Sweden coach.

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