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Sweden confirm top-two place in Finland

Published: Friday 7 October 2011, 20.35CET
Finland 1-2 Sweden
Goals from Sebastian Larsson and Martin Olsson at the start of each half mean that Erik Hamrén's side are certain of finishing in the top two in Group E.
by Mikael Erävuori
from Olympic Stadium
Sweden confirm top-two place in Finland
Sebastian Larsson scores Sweden's opener in Helsinki ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 7 October 2011, 20.35CET

Sweden confirm top-two place in Finland

Finland 1-2 Sweden
Goals from Sebastian Larsson and Martin Olsson at the start of each half mean that Erik Hamrén's side are certain of finishing in the top two in Group E.

Sebastian Larsson and Martin Olsson scored a goal in each half as Sweden confirmed a top-two finish in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group E with a 2-1 victory in Finland.

Kim Källström picked out Larsson to beat Lukas Hradecky in the Finland goal after just eight minutes to buoy the visitors, and while the goalkeeper was able to save a Zlatan Ibrahimović effort seven minutes after the restart, he could do nothing to prevent Olsson chasing through to finish with the loose ball. Joona Toivio gave Finland some hope with a 73rd-minute reply but it was not enough.

Mixu Paatelainen's side seemed to have made a decent start in Helsinki but Larsson's goal soon took the shine off their performance, and a downpour and heavy winds followed soon afterwards. Finland made the better of the extreme conditions for a while, with Mika Väyrynen and Kasper Hämäläinen both fashioning decent chances, albeit without getting the better of Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.

The second half was to begin similarly badly for the hosts, though, with Blackburn Rovers FC midfielder Olsson capitalising on that saved Ibrahimović shot. Roman Eremenko's finely-tuned pass then teed up Toivio – who plays his club football in Sweden with Djurgårdens IF – to make it 2-1, and Finland piled on the pressure in the later stages, but Sweden hung on. They play host to the Netherlands in their final Group E game on Tuesday.

Last updated: 08/10/11 12.11CET

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