Sweden 2 – 0 France

Man of the Match: Christian Wilhelmsson The winger changed the complexion of the game when he came on as a half-time substitute, giving Mathieu Debuchy a torrid time down the left hand side. France couldn’t cope with his direct running, and he provided good passes for talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic in dangerous areas. If only he’d started Sweden’s previous two games.

France verdict: Lethargic, disappointing and in the end, chastened. Blanc’s side never got into their stride going forward; too many laborious passing moves ending with off-target efforts from range. None of France’s flair players got into the game, and their defenders couldn’t handle the physical presence of Ola Toivonen or the tricky feet of Wilhelmsson.

Sweden verdict: Where has this sort of performance been hiding? Had they shown this kind of spirit and grit in their opening two games they could have claimed a spot in the last eight. Underpinned by colossal defensive performances from Olof Mellberg and Jonas Olsson, they looked a different unit up front, scoring two quality goals – Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener was one of the best of the tournament.

Could do better: This award could go to any of France’s attacking players but Franck Ribery is afforded the most freedom within Blanc’s system and couldn’t find a way into the game. Ribery was off colour but so were Benzema, Nasri, Ben Arfa and Menez, while Malouda was very poor when he came on.

Stat attack: Karim Benzema has now attempted more shots without scoring than any other player at Euro 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: