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The BBC's Simon Brotherton
"If Sweden had taken more of their chances they'd be through."
 real 28k

Monday, 19 June, 2000, 21:56 GMT 22:56 UK
Sweden bow out after Italy defeat
Di Biagio scores Italy's first goal in their 2-1 win
Di Biagio heads Italy in front as Larsson looks on
Italy 2-1 Sweden
(Eindhoven - Att: 25,000)

Sweden's Euro 2000 came to an end as they attacked Italy for most of the game but their opponents got the goals which counted to send them out of the tournament.

It was rough justice on the Swedes who had a host of chances in the first half but could not convert them for the win that they needed.

Henrik Larsson gave them brief hope when he equalised an earlier strike from Luigi di Biagio - but, as the Swedes pushed forward for the winner, Alessandro del Piero scored a stunning late winner on the break.

Italy had already qualified as group winners and that meant they could afford to make eight changes to the side that beat Belgium 2-0.


Di Biagio celebrates his goal
Di Biagio celebrates his goal
But the much-changed team played a similar game to the XI who lined up against Belgium as the Italians soaked up the pressure and hit their opponents on the break.

Their first strike came from a corner shortly before half-time when Di Biagio rose unmarked to head past Hedman.

The goal knocked Sweden out of their stride and it was not until midway through the second half when Ljungberg came alive that Sweden threatened again.

Side-netting

First the Arsenal player laid on a cross for Larsson to flick on to Patrick Andersson, and then he had a crack himself with his left foot but his shot only found the side-netting.

Kennet Andersson had started the game on the bench after turning his ankle against Turkey.

But when he came on as substitute his physical presence unsettled the opposition defence.


Iuliano and Osmanovski challenge for a high ball
Iuliano and Osmanovski challenge for a high ball
Within a couple of minutes he split the Italian rearguard and put Larsson clean through on goal.

Larsson skipped away from Francesco Toldo in the Italian goal and Sweden had 15 minutes to go for the win.

But as the game moved towards its conclusion the Swedes grew increasingly desperate and Italy once again struck on the break.

Del Piero ran at the Swedish defence shrugging off one challenge and struck a sweet left-footed shot past Hedman from the edge of the area.

You would never have guessed on the balance of play, but as the final whistle blew Italy were top of the group with three wins from three - and Sweden were heading home without a win.


Italy: Toldo, Ferrara, Negro, Iuliano (Cannavaro 46), Maldini (Nesta 42), Di Livio (Fiore 64), Ambrosini, Di Biagio, Pessotto, Del Piero, Montella.

Sweden: Hedman, Gustafsson (K Andersson 75), P Andersson, Bjorklund, Mellberg, Ljungberg, Mild, Mjallby (D Andersson 56), Osmanovski, Svensson (Alexandersson 52), Larsson.

Referee: M Pereira (Portugal)

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See also:

19 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Italy v Sweden clockwatch
19 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Turks through as Belgium crash out
19 Jun 00 | The BBC Team
England keep eye on Italy
19 Jun 00 | Photo Gallery
Italy v Sweden in pictures
19 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Beaten Swedes bemoan misses
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