KYIV: France suffered their first defeat in 24 games as goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sebastian Larsson sealed a famous 2-0 win for homeward-bound Sweden in their concluding Group D tie in Kiev. Laurent Blanc’s men thus slipped from top to runners-up spot and must thus face holders Spain in the quarter-finals on Donetsk on Saturday.
Ibrahimovic produced a special strike to open the scoring early in the second half and Sunderland midfielder Larsson added a second in stoppage time.
France were always second best, right from the early moment when Ola Toivonen headed wide. Toivonen also hit a lost and France skipper Hugo Lloris saved well from Larsson with Les Bleus hitting back only sporadically. Their best effort came from Franck Ribery who saw a left-foot shot parried at the near post by keeper Andreas Isaksson.
Nine minutes into the second half Sweden opened the scoring superbly. Christian Wilhelmsson found Larsson in space down the right. He crossed and Milan’s Ibrahimovic met the ball just inside the penalty area with an acrobatic right-foot volley.
Yann Mvila, substitute Jeremy Menez and Olivier Giroud all threatened in a brief French revival but Larsson made the points safe in stoppage time after Lloris could only tip a shot from Samuel Holmen against the bar.
= = = =