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Sweden too strong for sorry Spain

Sweden 2-0 Spain
Sweden maintained their perfect start as another defeat placed more pressure on Spain's Luis Aragonés.

Sweden maintained their 100 per cent winning start to UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying as goals from Johan Elmander and Marcus Allbäck condemned Spain to back-to-back defeats and placed more pressure on coach Luis Aragonés.

Raúl absent
Spain were looking to bounce back from their disappointing 3-2 reverse in Northern Ireland last month, but in-form strikers David Villa and Fernando Torres failed to inspire Aragonés's men, who were without the dropped Raúl González for the first time in ten years. Sweden, who edged past Latvia 1-0 in their opening game and comfortably beat Liechtenstein 3-1 last time out, were rarely troubled at the Råsunda as they moved five points clear of Denmark and Northern Ireland at the top of Group F, with Spain even further back in fifth.

Early lead
Elmander fired Sweden into an early lead as the forward was picked out by Allbäck, who passed a late fitness test to appear, before dispatching the ball past Iker Casillas in the Spain goal from the edge of the area. Visiting right-back Sergio Ramos attempted to hit back but pulled his effort wide, before Casillas saved well from Niclas Alexandersson. Elmander was unlucky not to double the home side's advantage just before the half-hour when his drive from distance came back off the crossbar.

Ljungberg worry
At the other end, Cesc Fabregas saw his long-range shot comfortably saved by Sweden keeper Rami Shaaban, who retained his place with Andreas Isaksson still sidelined. Arsenal FC midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg limped off in the opening stages of the second half and was replaced by Christian Wilhelmsson as neither team managed to take hold of the match. Allbäck threatened just before the hour but his effort drifted wide, while for Spain, Luis García blasted over from 20 metres.

Victory confirmed
Spain continued to search for an equaliser as Xavi Hernández directed an attempt wide and Shaaban beat away Carles Puyol's goalbound header after the defender had been picked out by his FC Barcelona colleague. But Sweden ensured all three points when Wilhelmsson found Allbäck and the 33-year-old beat Casillas from inside the area with eight minutes remaining. Sweden continue their campaign in Iceland on Wednesday night, while Spain will not play again until Denmark visit in March.