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History favours Sweden for Russia finale

Russia will be hoping to make it third time lucky when they take on Sweden in their concluding Group D fixture in Innsbruck having never beaten their opponents.

Zlatan Ibrahimović has enjoyed success against Russian opposition recently
Zlatan Ibrahimović has enjoyed success against Russian opposition recently ©Getty Images

Having gained their first points at UEFA EURO 2008™ with the defeat of reigning champions Greece in Salzburg, Russia will be hoping to make it third time lucky when they take on Sweden in their concluding Group D fixture in Innsbruck.

• A second successive victory would put them in the quarter-finals of a UEFA European Championship for the first time and also end an unwanted record of never having beaten the Scandinavian side.

• Sweden's motivation will be equally strong as they look to bounce back from their last-gasp defeat by Spain. They can secure second place in the section with a win or a draw – the latter option because they have a better goal difference than Russia.

• Russia began their Group D programme with a 4-1 loss to Spain in Innsbruck, succumbing to goals from David Villa (20, 44, 75) and Cesc Fàbregas (90+1). Roman Pavlyuchenko's solitary reply was little consolation then but Guus Hiddink's team found the right response against Greece, Konstantin Zyryanov (33) securing the three points in Salzburg. 

• Sweden opened by defeating Greece 2-0 through strikes from Zlatan Ibrahimović (67) and Petter Hansson (72) but their hopes of progress took a dent against Spain on Saturday when Villa's 92nd-minute goal inflicted a 2-1 defeat, after Ibrahimović (34) had earlier cancelled out Fernando Torres's opener (15).

• Despite a proud history in the competition as part of the USSR, Russia's record as an independent nation is less impressive with first-round exits in their first two attempts on the European stage, in 1996 and 2004. Likewise at the FIFA World Cup where they were early casualties in 1994 and 2002.

• Sweden, by contrast, have progressed from the first round in each of their last three appearances at major tournaments.

• A 90th-minute Zlatan Ibrahimović goal saved Sweden from defeat when the countries last met, in a friendly in Moscow on 21 August 2002. Aleksandr Kerzhakov had opened the scoring with a penalty on 56 minutes prior to Ibrahimović's late intervention.

• The teams that day were:
Russia: Sergei Ovchinnikov (Ruslan Nigmatullin), Gennadi Nizhegorodov (Viacheslav Daev), Yuri Kovtun, Viktor Onopko (Aleksei Smertin (Dmitri Loskov)), Sergei Semak (Denis Popov), Sergei Ignashevich (Nikolai Olenikov), Igor Yanovskiy (Igor Semshov), Rolan Gusev (Ruslan Pimenov), Dmitri Khokhlov (Evgeni Aldonin), Vladimir Beschastnykh (Aleksandr Kerzakhov), Denis Laktionov (Andrei Kariaka).

Sweden: Magnus Hedman (Mattias Asper), Olof Mellberg, Andreas Jakobsson (Michael Svensson), Johan Mjällby (Nils-Eric Johansson), Teddy Lucic, Niclas Alexandersson, Tobias Linderoth, Anders Svensson (Kim Källström), Andreas Andersson, Rade Prica (Pontus Farnerud), Zlatan Ibrahimović.

• Overall, Sweden have recorded three victories and two draws against Russia. The most recent success came in a friendly in Orebro in August 1998, where Jörgen Pettersson scored the only goal.

• The most famous meeting between the countries was in Detroit at the 1994 FIFA World Cup where Sweden won their first-round match 3-1. After Oleg Salenko and Tomas Brolin had struck first-half penalties, Martin Dahlin scored twice in the second period to secure victory for the Swedes.

• Sweden also beat the Soviet Union 2-0 in the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup but failed to get the better of the Soviets in qualifying for the 1964 UEFA European Championship, drawing 1-1 at home then going down 3-1 in Moscow.

• Russia boss Guus Hiddink has never before faced Swedish opposition in his long and itinerant coaching career.

• Russia striker Pavlyuchenko was on the scoresheet against Swedish opponents when his FC Spartak Moskva team defeated BK Häcken 5-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Cup first-round tie last September. Fellow international Vladimir Bystrov also featured for Spartak, who won the return 3-1 in Sweden.

• Ibrahimović, Sweden's star forward, scored twice past Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to help his club side FC Internazionale Milano beat Akinfeev's PFC CSKA Moskva 4-2 in a 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage match in Milan. Aleksei and Vasili Berezutski also played in a CSKA team who were eliminated that night.

• Another Sweden striker, Marcus Allbäck, was in the FC København lineup that won 1-0 at FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the UEFA Cup group stage on 29 November last year. Russia pair Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Dmitri Sychev appeared on the losing Lokomotiv side.

• This is Russia's third EURO finals as an independent state but as part of the former Soviet Union, they won the 1960 UEFA European Championship and were runners-up in 1964, 1972 and 1988.

• Sweden are participating in their fourth EURO finals in Austria/Switzerland. Their best performance came in 1992 when they reached the semi-finals on home soil.

• This is the 13th edition of the UEFA European Championship and the eighth edition that features a final tournament with a group phase.