Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored both goals as Sweden beat the Faroe Islands 2-0 to earn three crucial points in their quest to qualify for the 2014 World Cup on Tuesday, but their Scandinavian neighbors Denmark suffered a crushing 4-0 home defeat to Armenia.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Ibrahimovic stabbed home the opener from close range 10 minutes before the interval at the Friends Arena in the Stockholm suburb of Solna, and then added a penalty eight minutes from time.
Sweden were ultimately comfortable winners, despite the sending-off of Andreas Granqvist toward the end, and Erik Hamren’s side climbed back into third place in qualifying Group C.
With 11 points from six games, the Swedes are five points behind leaders Germany, but level on points with second-placed Austria, with the Republic of Ireland in fourth.
Their next game is away to Ireland in September.
Meanwhile, Denmark’s chances of qualifying for a third consecutive major tournament finals received a hammer blow as they went down 4-0 to Armenia in Copenhagen.
Forward Yura Movsisyan, who once had a spell in the Danish league, but now plays for Spartak Moscow, scored twice for the former Soviet republic, with Aris Ozbiliz and Shakhtar Donetsk star Henrikh Mkhitaryan also on target.
The scoreline equaled Armenia’s biggest-ever victory, while for Denmark it was their heaviest defeat in a competitive match since going down 5-1 to Spain at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
Their chances of reaching next year’s finals now appear slim.
With four games remaining in Group B, Morten Olsen’s team are eight points behind leaders Italy and four adrift of Bulgaria in second.
Meanwhile, Armenia moved level on points with the Danes, with the two teams due to meet again in September.
Elsewhere, in Group I, Finland’s chances of finishing second received a blow as they only managed a 1-1 draw in Belarus, a result that leaves the Finns four points behind France.