Greece v Sweden, 10 June 2008

Score2-0 to Sweden
RefereeMassimo Busacca
CompetitionUEFA European Championship Finals Group D
VenueRed Bull Arena, Salzburg
Attendance31,063
Kick-Off: 8.45pm local Assistant referees: Matthias Arnet (Switzerland) Stéphane Cuhat (Switzerland) Fourth official: Ivan Bebek (Croatia) Man of the Match: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden) Holders Greece already have a fight on their hands to maintain their grip on the trophy they won so memorably four years ago after second-half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimović and Petter Hansson gave Sweden all three points in their opening Group D match in Salzburg. Otto Rehhagel's side were always on the back foot as they relied on the tactics that had served them so well in Portugal, defending deeply and looking for opportunities on the counterattack. For all their territorial dominance, however, Sweden were unable to pick a way through a characteristically disciplined Greece defence until a moment of inspiration from Ibrahimović who – with his first international goal since October 2005 – broke the deadlock in the 67th minute. Hansson added a second five minutes later to leave Greece with plenty to ponder before Saturday's meeting with Russia. Sweden coach Lars Lagerbäck had warned repeatedly in the build-up of the danger Greece posed from set pieces, yet within three minutes his own team had proved they were not to be underestimated in that department either – Hansson heading across goal from a corner. Ibrahimović and Fredrik Ljungberg, back after knee and rib injuries respectively, then nearly combined to good effect before Anders Svensson thumped a first-time left-foot volley just past the post from 25 metres. Having again reversed his decision to retire from national-team football for this tournament, Henrik Larsson produced an unusually quiet opening half-hour, but burst into life by unselfishly passing up two shooting opportunities by trying to find Ibrahimović. On each occasion the menace was snuffed out, although the FC Internazionale Milano forward then landed an improvised header on the roof of Antonis Nikopolidis's net. Greece had barely threatened their opponents' goal with the notable exception of a fine early run past three defenders from the 2004 final match-winner, Angelos Charisteas. His burst ended disappointingly with a low shot straight at Andreas Isaksson, who then reacted smartly to keep out an Angelos Basinas effort from distance on the stroke of half-time. The pattern remained much the same in the second period, with Greece largely content to sit back and soak up pressure. That plan might have come undone within three minutes of the restart, Niclas Alexandersson lifting a pass over the defence for Christian Wilhelmsson on the right after Greece had half-cleared a corner. The midfielder beat Nikopolidis to the ball but his shot was too high. While happy to let their opponents make the running, the set-piece delivery of Greece's Giorgos Karagounis prompted several uncomfortable moments and the midfielder wasted a presentable opening himself just past the hour, twice firing straight at defenders with Sweden exposed. There was soon more discomfort for the Scandinavians as Hansson inadvertently headed a Traianos Dellas cross just past his own post – yet within seconds Sweden were ahead. Ibrahimović, without a goal in 13 international outings, exchanged passes with Larsson and thumped an unstoppable drive beyond Nikopolidis from the edge of the box. That was the first time Greece's defence had been breached in 425 minutes of EURO finals action but they soon conceded a messy second. Nikopolidis saved from Ljungberg but the ball looped into the air for Hansson to scramble in at the far post. Sweden were always in control thereafter, although the night ended on a note of concern as Wilhelmsson limped off with a heavily strapped left thigh.

0  Greece

Manager: Otto Rehhagel

2  Sweden

Manager: Lars Lagerback

Goals:

Goals:

Zlatan Ibrahimović 67 G
Petter Hansson 73 G

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis
Defender Trianos Dellas
Defender/Midfielder Angelos Basinas (captain)
Midfielder Giorgios Karagounis
Forward Theofanis Gekas

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson
Defender Daniel Andersson
Defender Petter Hansson
Defender Olof Mellberg
Midfielder Freddie Ljungberg (captain)
Midfielder Mikael Nilsson
Midfielder Anders Svensson
Forward Henrik Larsson

Substitutions:

Georgios Samaras for Theofanis Gekas 46
Ioannis Amanatidis for Trianos Dellas 70

Substitutions:

Johann Elmander for Johann Elmander 71
Fredrik Stoor for Niclas Alexandersson 74
Markus Rosenberg for Christian Wilhelmsson 78

Cards:

Angelos Charisteas 1 Y
Giorgos Seitaridis 52 Y
Vassilis Torosidis 61 Y

Cards:

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias
Goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas
Midfielder Ioannis Amanatidis
Midfielder Ioannis Goumas

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Rami Shaaban
Goalkeeper Johan Wiland
Defender Mikael Dorsin
Defender Peter Larsson
Defender Fredrik Stoor
Midfielder Kim Källström
Midfielder Tobias Linderoth
Forward Marcus Allbäck
Forward Johann Elmander

Comments:

- Angelos Charisteas was booked after only 65 seconds in the game, collecting the fastest yellow card at Euro 2008. - Greece also fielded their oldest starting line-up in European Championship history at an average age of 29 years and 325 days.

Comments:

- Sweden extended their unbeaten streak in European Championship matches to five (two wins and three draws), the longest current sequence without defeat in European Championship competition. - Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal ended Antonis Nikopolidis' clean sheet streak of three European Championship matches (409 minutes) without conceding a goal. Only Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands, five matches) and Dino Zoff (Italy, four) have recorded longer sequences. Sweden's goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson now holds the longest running clean sheet streak (235 minutes). - Sweden (45 European Championship matches) and Greece (39) fielded the most experienced starting line-ups at Euro 2008 in terms of European Championship matches played. The record is held by France, who fielded a starting line-up with 80 European Championship matches under their belt in the Euro 2000 final against Italy. - Henrik Larsson (36 years and 264 days) became the oldest player to represent Sweden at the European Championship, breaking the eight year old record set by Roland Nilsson (36 years and 196 days at Euro 2000 against Belgium). - At 31 years and three days, Sweden's starting line-up is the second oldest in European Championship history, 49 days younger than Italy's starting line-up against the Netherlands on Monday, 9 June 2008.