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Sweden exits Euro 2012 with morale-boosting win

Published: Monday, July 27 2015 7:56 p.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) 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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