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."