Sweden took another significant step towards UEFA EURO 2008™ qualification as Fredrik Ljungberg, Christian Wilhelmsson and Anders Svensson struck in a convincing 3-0 victory in Liechtenstein.
Lars Lagerbäck's side had been pushed all the way by the minnows when the teams met in Gothenburg 13 months ago, but goals inside the opening half-hour from Ljungberg and Wilhelmsson ensured there would be no repeat in Vaduz. Johan Elmander had chances to extend the advantage but poor control let him down so it was Svensson who eventually added a third eleven minutes after the restart, his long-range strike squirming past Peter Jehle.
The win helped Sweden keep their place atop Group F, a result that always looked likely as they dominated the opening exchanges. Daniel Majstorovic guided a header wide when well-placed and only a superb block from Jehle kept out Wilhelmsson. No matter: the pressure told on 19 minutes when Tobias Linderoth's intelligent pass split the home defence and the ever-alert Ljungberg was unerring with his finish.
Ten minutes later it was 2-0, and if the first goal had been the product of combination play, the second was all about Wilhelmsson. The winger advanced down the right flank before cutting inside the penalty area and beating two men before sliding the ball into the bottom corner. It capped a fine first-half performance from the visitors, who should have enhanced their lead further, but Elmander failed to control Ljungberg's pass when through on goal.
Daniel Frick almost made him pay though contrived to head wide when it seemed easier to score. The profligacy seemed contagious as Elmander was again undone by his first touch soon after, before Svensson showed how it should be done to seal a 3-0 win. Another triumph against Northern Ireland on Wednesday and Sweden will be on the verge of a place in the finals.