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Sweden and Belgium sign off from Group E

An encounter in the opening round of UEFA EURO 2000 group games may give some indication of what lies ahead as Sweden take on Belgium for a 16th time, in Group E.

Background: Sweden v Belgium ©Getty Images

Sweden were beaten in their only previous UEFA European Championship finals meeting with Belgium, but will hope to defeat their opponents for the first time since October 1961 in Group E.

Previous meetings
• Sweden's record in 15 encounters with Belgium is W5 D2 L8 (W2 D0 L3 in competitive games). They have not won in the sides' last three contests (D1 L2) since a FIFA World Cup qualifying success in October 1961.

• Co-hosts Belgium, featuring current coach Marc Wilmots in their lineup, overcame Sweden 2-1 in the opening match of UEFA EURO 2000 thanks to goals from Bart Goor and Émile Mpenza. However, neither team reached the quarter-finals.

• The teams for that game in Brussels on 10 June 2000 were:
Belgium: De Wilde, Deflandre, Valgaeren, Staelens, Vanderhaeghe, Wilmots, Goor, Mpenza, Strupar (Nilis 69), Verheyen (Peeters 88), Léonard (Van Kerckhoven 72).
Sweden: Hedman, Nilsson (Lucic 46), P Andersson, Björklund, Ljungberg, Pettersson (Larsson 50), Alexandersson, Mellberg, D Andersson (Osmanovski 70), Mjällby, K Andersson.

• At the Friends Arena in June 2014, the countries met for the first time since that Brussels encounter. Visitors Belgium won 2-0 courtesy of goals from Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard.

• Belgium defeated Sweden home and away in qualifying for the 1954 World Cup, with Sweden turning the tables for the 1962 tournament – although they did not qualify for the finals in Chile.

Sweden: Top five goals in qualifying
Sweden: Top five goals in qualifying

EURO facts – Sweden
• Sweden are competing at their fifth successive EURO finals, and their sixth in total. They have not made it through the group stage since reaching the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2004.

• Sweden's greatest feat to date is reaching the final of the 1958 World Cup as hosts, losing 5-2 to Brazil. In their best EURO campaign they progressed to the last four of the 1992 edition, succumbing 3-2 to Germany.

• Zlatan Ibrahimović was the second highest scorer in UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying with 11 goals – including three in the play-offs.

• The only Swedish side to have previously played a UEFA game in Nice  is Örgryte, who lost 2-1 to Nice in a 2003 UEFA Intertoto Cup second round match.

EURO facts – Belgium
• This is Belgium's first UEFA European Championship final tournament since they co-hosted UEFA EURO 2000 with the Netherlands, and their fifth EURO in total.

Belgium's EURO star: Kevin De Bruyne
Belgium's EURO star: Kevin De Bruyne

• The Red Devils' biggest achievement to date is reaching the final of the 1980 EURO, where they lost 2-1 to West Germany in Rome.

• The only previous Belgian side to have played a competitive game in Nice won 1-0 against Northern Ireland at the 1951 FIFA Youth Tournament Under-18.

Coach and player links
• Have played together:
Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden) & Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen (Belgium) – Ajax, 2003–04

Andreas Isaksson (Sweden) and Dries Mertens (Belgium) – PSV Eindhoven, 2011–12