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Ibrahimović leads Sweden to fifth EURO in a row

Marcus Berg said it was "a blessing" to have Zlatan Ibrahimović as a team-mate after the Paris man's goals took Sweden to the finals of UEFA EURO 2016.

Sweden players rush to Zlatan Ibrahimović at full time
Sweden players rush to Zlatan Ibrahimović at full time ©Getty Images

Sweden stumbled with the end in sight during the qualifying group stage, allowing fast-finishing Russia to pip them to the post as Group G runners-up. However, inspired as ever by Zlatan Ibrahimović, the Blågult came good in the play-offs.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Ibrahimović had neither scored nor won in six previous meetings with Denmark going into the play-offs, but that record was summarily put to bed over the two legs. He converted the decisive goal from the spot in the 2-1 first-leg victory and promptly broke the deadlock in the return. His fine free-kick then sealed a UEFA EURO 2016 berth in breathtaking fashion. It was Ibrahimović's 11th goal of the campaign (a haul bettered only by Robert Lewandowski), his strikes representing more than half of Sweden's tally of 19.

Berg: teamwork key
Berg: teamwork key

Reaction
Marcus Berg, Sweden forward
It means a lot. There was a lot of pressure on us but we did it. The first game we played well, I think, and today was a lot of defending. It was really tough. Normally, I am not a striker that drops [back to defend] but today I had to do it.

How much do we owe Zlatan Ibrahimović? Of course, a lot, but we are a team and everyone works really hard. Of course, it's a blessing to have him up front to score these important goals. He's really important but everyone did a massive job today.

He is a big name across the world, and now he is playing in France he has a lot of fans there. It's nice for everyone that we can go there – it will be my first major tournament so I am really happy.

Erik Hamrén, Sweden coach
I really don't know what to say. This is fantastic. This is euphoria. We wanted to go to EURO 2016 and we managed to do it. The players really did well today, but we were also lucky. If Denmark had scored early on it would have been another match. I am thinking of the chance where Denmark hit the woodwork following a corner. There we were lucky. But I believe we were the better team when you look at the two matches combined.

It was fantastic to watch Zlatan put the free-kick into the back of the net. What can you say? He is like family, and I love him.

Forsberg proud
Forsberg proud

Emil Forsberg, Sweden midfielder
It's impossible to describe the emotions – I feel so proud of the team, of the country, of everyone. I think we did a great job today

It means everything to qualify. It was an ambition we always had and we got a tough oppoment in Denmark, but we knew that if we played well it would be hard to beat us – and today we had a great defence. We played well and we played smart and then we scored two fantastic goals.

Key stats
Best result: semi-finals 1992
Coach: Erik Hamrén
Leading scorers: all-time – Zlatan Ibrahimović (62); current – Zlatan Ibrahimović (62)
Most appearances: all-time – Anders Svensson (148); current – Andreas Isaksson (127)

Record EURO appearances
Overall: Kim Källström, Andreas Isaksson (46)
Final tournament: Olof Mellberg (13)

Record EURO goals
Overall: Zlatan Ibrahimović (25)
Final tournament: Zlatan Ibrahimović (6)