Victory in vain as Sweden face the play-offs

Sweden 2-0 MoldovaZlatan Ibrahimović made it eight goals in eight qualifiers, but victory elsewhere for Russia means Sweden must come through the play-offs.

  • Sweden win but Russia's victory over Montenegro means they finish third in Group G
  • Sweden will take their place in Sunday's play-off draw, with ties next month
  • Zlatan Ibrahimović scores his eighth goal in as many qualifiers
  • Erkan Zengin nets third Sweden goal a year to the day after his second
  • Moldova end with two points, their worst EURO qualifying campaign

Sweden signed off from Group G with a comfortable victory over Moldova, but Russia's triumph over Montenegro means Erik Hamrén's team must now go through next month's UEFA EURO 2016 play-offs.

As usual, captain Zlatan Ibrahimović led from the front and opened the scoring for Sweden, his well-taken 23rd-minute effort maintaining his goal-a-game qualifying record. The Paris man would play a part in the second, too, forcing a hurried clearance that John Guidetti capitalised on, rolling the ball into the path of Erkan Zengin to make it 2-0.

The only problem was that, by then, second-placed Russia's advantage was identical. Hamrén opted to substitute Ibrahimović and Kim Källström, with both veterans a booking away from a suspension that would rule them out of the first leg of the play-off in November.

Guidetti shone on his first Sweden start
Guidetti shone on his first Sweden start©AFP/Getty Images

Guidetti will hope to feature in that tie after impressing on his first senior start for Sweden in familiar surroundings at the Friends Arena. He was a threat throughout, impudently teeing himself up for a half-volley inside 30 seconds to roars of approval from the 25,351 crowd. Three minutes later he hit the post from Martin Olsson's cross.

Ibrahimović also went close before breaking the deadlock, chesting down Mikael Lustig's long pass and wrong-footing goalkeeper Ilie Cebanu with a dummy before rolling the ball in from close range. Two minutes after the interval it was 2-0 as Cebanu, under pressure from Ibrahimović, cleared to Guidetti and Zengin floated the ball into the abandoned goal.

The three points were never in doubt for Sweden but Russia's win meant it mattered not. So on to next month's play-offs for the third-placed Scandinavians.

Guidetti and Sweden's Under-21 triumph last summer
Guidetti and Sweden's Under-21 triumph last summer