Sweden exits Euro 2012 with morale-boosting win

By Mattias Karen

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, June 20 2012 6:26 a.m. MDT

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores by France's Philippe Mexes during the Euro 2012 soccer championship Group D match between Sweden and France in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, June 19, 2012.

Sergei Grits, Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine — For 90 minutes against France, Sweden played exactly the way it had envisioned at the European Championship — controlling possession, defending solidly and getting spectacular scoring from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

By the time everything was clicking for the Swedes, though, it was already too late.

Despite holding second-half leads in all three games at Euro 2012, Sweden flew home early after defensive lapses led to losses in the first two games.

But the team left after a morale-boosting 2-0 win over France that showed that coach Erik Hamren's vision of a free-flowing and possession-based style of football is more than just a pipe dream for a team that traditionally hasn't been known for an attractive way of playing.

Ibrahimovic said the victory "was a good start for the future."

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