Fri, Jun 01, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Ibrahimovic strikes early in Sweden warm-up win

AFP, Gothenburg, Sweden

Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, front, scores his team’s first goal as Iceland’s Aron Gunnarsson looks on in their international friendly at the Gamla Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Sweden beat Iceland 3-2 in an international friendly on Wednesday, with AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic early on suggesting a promising Euro 2012 to come, before Sweden lost speed.

Sweden led 2-0 after just 13 minutes, with Ibrahimovic opening the scoring in the first minute with a beautiful volley from a Sebastian Larsson pass.

Ibrahimovic also had a hand in Sweden’s second goal, tricking Iceland defender Hallgrimur Jonasson by dribbling left then right with his right foot, before deftly passing with his left to Ola Toivonen by the far post, who doubled the lead.

However, then things slowed down and Sweden began to fail to make headway from midfield, enabling Iceland’s Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to pull the deficit back to 2-1.

Iceland, coached by Sweden’s former manager Lars Lagerbaeck, recovered somewhat after Sweden’s early domination, but a slew of second-half substitutions put an end to any hopes of going further on the offensive.

Instead, Christian Wilhelmsson, who replaced striker Ibrahimovic in the 62nd minute, took a Pontus Wernbloom pass and upped Sweden’s lead to 3-1 with a half-volley.

In the final minute, Iceland’s Hallgrimur Jonasson reduced the arrears to 3-2.

Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson played a full match and seemed unfazed by a sore shoulder that has bothered him lately, while Andreas Granqvist, who played instead of defender Mikael Lustigs who has a groin injury, put in a strong showing.

Sweden’s Euro 2012 preparations continue next week with a home match against Serbia on Tuesday.

Sweden have been drawn alongside England, France and co-hosts Ukraine in Group D at Euro 2012.

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