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Qualifying rivals reunite in Innsbruck

Rivals on the road to UEFA EURO 2008™, Sweden and Spain will need no introduction when they meet again in their second Group D fixture in Innsbruck.

Spain's Cesc Fabregas (left) takes on Daniel Andersson of Sweden
Spain's Cesc Fabregas (left) takes on Daniel Andersson of Sweden ©Getty Images

Rivals on the road to UEFA EURO 2008™ Sweden and Spain will meet again in their second Group D fixture in Innsbruck, each aiming to take another stride towards to the last eight.

• Spain started the tournament in impressive fashion, beating Russia 4-1 in Innsbruck on Monday as David Villa became the seventh player to score a hat-trick in UEFA European Championship finals history. After Villa's treble (20, 44, 75), Cesc Fàbregas restored Spain's three-goal wining margin in added time following Roman Pavlyuchenko's 86th-minute reply for Russia.

• Sweden joined Spain on three points later in the day when they defeated reigning champions Greece 2-0 in Salzburg through second-half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimović (67) and Petter Hansson (72).

• The target for both sides is to build on their winning starts. Spain fans, in particular, will need no reminding that their favourites won their opening match at UEFA EURO 2004™ – 1-0 against Russia – yet failed to get out of their group.  

• The two teams will need little introduction after their contests in qualifying, when each claimed a home victory against the other. Sweden defeated Spain 2-0 early in the qualifying campaign – in Solna on 7 October 2006 – winning through goals from Johan Elmander (ten minutes) and Marcus Allbäck (82).

• Spain gained revenge with a 3-0 triumph at the Santiago Bernabéu on 17 November last year, Joan Capdevila (14), Andrés Iniesta (39) and Sergio Ramos (65) the scorers. That result secured the home side's qualification and meant they eventually finished two points above their Scandinavian opponents at the top of Group F.

• The teams for the first game in Sweden were:
Sweden: Rami Shaaban, Mikael Nilsson, Olof Mellberg, Petter Hansson, Erik Edman, Tobias Linderoth, Niclas Alexandersson, Fredrik Ljungberg (Christian Wilhelmsson), Anders Svensson (Kim Källström), Johan Elmander (Daniel Andersson), Marcus Allbäck.
Spain: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Juanito Gutiérrez, Joan Capdevila (Antonio Puerta), David Albelda, Miguel Ángel Angulo (Luis García), Cesc Fàbregas (Andrés Iniesta), Xavi Hernández, David Villa, Fernando Torres.

• The teams for the return in Madrid were:
Spain: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Carlos Marchena, Joan Capdevila, Andrés Iniesta (Joaquín Sánchez), Cesc Fàbregas, David Albelda, Xavi Hernández, David Villa, David Silva (Albert Riera).
Sweden: Andreas Isaksson, Mikael Nilsson, Olof Mellberg, Petter Hansson, Erik Edman, Christian Wilhelmsson (Kennedy Bakircioglü), Daniel Andersson (Kim Källström), Anders Svensson, Fredrik Ljungberg, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Markus Rosenberg (Marcus Allbäck).

• Overall, Spain have got the better of the countries' head-to-head meetings. They were 2-1 winners in the first ever encounter at the 1920 Olympic Games and the matches since then have produced three wins for Sweden, four for Spain and four draws.

• Sweden beat Spain 3-1 in the final round of the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Stig Sundqvist, Bror Mellberg and Karl-Erik Palmer scored for the Scandinavians and Zarra found the net for Spain – the result, however, helped neither team as they filled the bottom two places of the section, below winners Uruguay and Brazil.

• It was 28 years before the sides met again on the big stage, Spain overcoming Sweden 1-0 in the first round of the 1978 World Cup through a Juan Manuel Asensi strike.

• Spain coach Luis Aragonés enjoyed success against Swedish opposition in his playing days. As a striker with Club Atlético de Madrid, he scored in both legs of a European Champion Clubs' Cup victory against Malmö FF in the first round of the 1966/67 competition. Atlético prevailed 2-0 in Sweden, then 3-1 at home to progress as 5-1 aggregate winners.

• Spanish internationals Capdevila and Marcos Senna were in the Villarreal CF team that defeated IF Elfsborg 2-0 in a UEFA Cup group stage fixture in Spain in December. Sweden midfielder Anders Svensson was part of an Elfsborg side eliminated with that reverse.

• Sweden striker Markus Rosenberg scored past Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas when he got the opening goal in Werder Bremen's 3-2 victory against Real Madrid CF in the UEFA Champions League group stage in November.

• Sweden striker Henrik Larsson played alongside Spain's Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and Carles Puyol during his two years with FC Barcelona between 2004 and 2006. 

• Spain's Fàbregas played alongside Sweden midfielders Fredrik Ljungberg and Sebastian Larsson during their time at Arsenal FC.

• Kim Källström registered one of Sweden's goals in a 2-0 home success against Spain en route to a 3-1 aggregate win in a November 2003 play-off for the 2004 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

• 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.

• Spain are playing in their fourth successive EURO finals. Runners-up in 1984, they lifted the European crown in 1964 when they beat the USSR 2-1 on home soil in Madrid.

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