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Late Italy winner in EURO 2000 Group B sends Sweden home

Italy 2-1 Sweden
Despite resting eight players the Azzurri dashed Sweden's UEFA EURO 2000 hopes thanks to Alessandro Del Piero's late winner.

Watch Alessandro Del Piero score a late winner for Italy as they ended Sweden's hopes of qualification at UEFA EURO 2000 in the Netherlands.
EURO 2000 highlights: Italy 2-1 Sweden

Sweden gave their all in an attempt to salvage their UEFA EURO 2000 hopes but Italy, despite resting eight regulars, proved too strong.

Alessandro Del Piero sealed their exit in an absorbing finale set up when man-of-the-match Henrik Larsson cancelled out Luigi Di Biagio's opening strike. Kennet Andersson fired just over but time ran out for Sweden with two minutes left when Del Piero burst through to score with a wonderful drive into the top corner of the net.

EURO 2000: All you need to know

Watch Henrik Larsson's goal against Italy at EURO 2000
Watch Henrik Larsson's goal against Italy at EURO 2000

Tommy Söderberg's side started positively and almost took a tenth-minute lead when Johan Mjallby headed Fredrik Ljungberg's corner past Francesco Toldo, only for Angelo Di Livio to clear off the line. Italy soon had another let-off as Ljungberg raced clean through before shooting wide with only Toldo to beat. The Azzurri rearguard was wobbling as Patrik Andersson's header from another corner flew over.

Sweden's forthright approach ran the risk of exposure to the counterattack, a threat highlighted by Vincenzo Montella, when he pounced on slack defending to lift his final effort over the bar. Italy lacked urgency but found a breakthrough when Di Biagio brilliantly glanced Del Piero's corner in at the near post.

The Azzurri continued to soak up the pressure and almost conceded when Alessandro Nesta was dispossessed by Larsson; he teed up Yksel Osmanovski, who was denied by Toldo. Another chance slipped by on 70 minutes when Larsson found Kennet Andersson at the far post only for Toldo to block.

Highlights: Best goals of EURO 2000
Highlights: Best goals of EURO 2000

Swedish persistence paid off six minutes later when Kennet Andersson threaded a ball through for Larsson and the tireless Celtic striker rounded the goalkeeper to clip in a deserved equaliser and set up for a thrilling finish. It was Del Piero, though, who had the final word.

EURO 2000: Team of the Tournament


Sweden line up before their  Group B tie with Italy
Sweden line up before their Group B tie with ItalyPopperfoto via Getty Images

Italy: Toldo; Ferrara, Negro, Iuliano (Cannavaro 46), Pessotto, Maldini (c) (Nesta 42); Di Livio (Fiore 64), Di Biagio, Ambrosini; Del Piero, Montella
Substitutes: Abbiati, Antonioli, Zambrotta, Albertini, Conte, Totti, Inzaghi, Delvecchio
Coach: Dino Zoff

Sweden: Hedman; Mellberg, P. Andersson (c), Björklund, Gustafsson (K. Andersson 75); Mjällby (D. Andersson 56), Svensson (Alexandersson 52), Mild, Ljungberg; Osmanovski, Larsson
Substitutes: Sundgren, Lučić, A. Andersson, Pettersson, Kihlstedt, Asper, Allbäck, Nilsson
Coach: Tommy Söderberg

Referee: Vítor Melo Pereira (Portugal)

Man of the Match: Henrik Larsson (Sweden)