Tuesday 9/21/21
SWEDEN 1-0 SLOVAKIA

Sweden top Euros group E with 1-0 win over Slovakia

The result puts pressure on Spain to win their second game on Saturday against Poland, before a final match against Slovakia next week.
18 June 2021, Russia, Saint Petersburg: Sweden's Emil Forsberg (R) and Slovakia's Martin Koscelnik battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group E soccer match between Sweden and Slovakia at the Krestovsky Stadium. Photo: Igor Russak/dpa
Sweden's Emil Forsberg (R) and Slovakia's Martin Koscelnik battle for the ball. Photo: Igor Russak/dpa.

Emil Forsberg converted a penalty as Sweden beat Slovakia 1-0 on Friday to take a big step towards the last 16 at Euro 2020 and put pressure on ex-champions Spain.

RB Leipzig's Forsberg was on target in the 77th minute for a deserved victory because Sweden, with lively Man of the Match Alexander Isak, were the better team and more dangerous under sunny Russian skies.

The victory saw them go top of Group E with four points from the win and an earlier 0-0 draw against Spain. Slovakia disappointed, had no shot on target, and remain on three from their opening 2-1 win against Poland.

The result puts pressure on Spain to win their second game on Saturday against Poland, before a final match against Slovakia next week.

Sweden are unbeaten in 2021 and ended a run of four games without a victory at the Euros to be well-positioned to reach the knock-out stages for the first time since 2004.

Their last group match is against Poland on Wednesday.

"The situation looks good, we have put ourselves in a good position. It is in our own hands," Sweden coach Janne Andersson said.

"We've played seven games this year, and conceded just one goal. Our attack should have got more rewards. I hope we will be able to score those goals in another game."

Individual quality

Slovakia coach Stefan Tarkovic said: "We could see Sweden's individual quality. Our goalkeeper saved us several times but unfortunately there was then the penalty. We lost and I am really sorry."

Andersson had Dejan Kulusevski back from a positive coronavirus test and isolation period but he was not used.

The Scandinavians enjoyed a little more of the early possession without seriously threatening while Slovakia did not come out of their shell until the half-hour mark, and captain Marek Hamsik aimed high from a promising position.

The game came to life after the break with a first dangerous shot from Slovakia's Ondrej Duda which also went over.

But from then on it was all Sweden.

Isak also involved

Goalkeeper Martin Dubravka palmed away Ludwig Augustinsson's header despite being wrong-footed, Marcus Danielson nodded high from the ensuing corner kick, and Isak aimed inches left shortly after.

Sweden kept up the pace as Isak's dangerous header fell onto the roof of the net, and the Real Sociedad forward was denied by Dubravka after a brilliant solo run past three defenders.

Isak was also involved in the goal as his pass to Robin Quaison led to Dubravka bringing down the substitute, and Forsberg executed the spot kick well into the right corner, leaving Dubravka no chance although he dived that way.

It could have been 2-0 shortly afterwards but Isak was too selfish when he should have passed to the unmarked Quaison, and Sweden then withstood some late pressure to earn full points.

"It means an incredible amount that we won this match. There are always things you can do better but, on the whole, it is really good," Forsberg told Swedish TV.

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