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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
Sweden 5-0 Bulgaria

Sweden celebrate during their crushing win over Bulgaria
Henrik Larsson scored a stunning double to earn Sweden a resounding victory over Bulgaria in their Group C opener.

The Swedes took the lead when Zlatan Ibrahimovic raced down the right and set up Freddie Ljungberg to tap home.

Larsson brilliantly headed in Erik Edman's cross then converted Andreas Svensson's right-wing centre.

Ljungberg was fouled in the box to earn a penalty that Ibrahimovic converted before sub Marcus Allback rifled in a terrific volley in stoppage time.

Sweden made a lively start and Ibrahimovic brilliantly controlled a raking through ball only to see his goalbound shot deflected away for a corner.

Bulgaria were making their first appearance in a major tournament since a 6-1 thumping at the hands of Spain in the 1998 World Cup, but after starting nervously they soon acclimatised to the ferocious pace of the game.

Sweden suffered a scare when Marian Hristov tumbled in the box, but English referee Mike Riley waved play on.

Soon after, Bulgaria had a real chance to go in front, Martin Petrov swinging in a lovely cross from the left that Jankovic volleyed narrowly wide.

KEY MOMENTS
26 mins: Berbatov's header is tipped over by Isaksson
32 mins: Ljungberg converts Ibrahimovic's cross
57 mins: Larsson's stunning diving header doubles the lead
58 mins: Larsson fires into the roof of the net
78 mins: Ibrahimovic slots home from the penalty spot
90 mins: Allback seals the win

As the game swung from end to end, Larsson directed Mikael Nilsson's right-wing cross over, before Berbatov's thumping header forced Isaksson to brilliantly tip over the bar.

Just after the half-hour mark, Sweden went ahead. Ibrahimovic raced away down the right after a mistake from Ivailo Petkov, and the Ajax striker surged into the box and fed Ljungberg, who tapped home from six yards.

Bulgaria almost replied immediately, but Stilian Petrov's sizzling 30-yard volley flashed wide of Isaksson's right-hand post.

The second half began in the same fashion with both sides creating chances. First Jankovic headed wide from close range when it looked easier to score.

Moments later an impetuous flick from the cunning Ibrahimovic sent Ljungberg through, but the Arsenal midfielder could only shoot straight at Zdravkov.

Bulgaria went within inches of levelling when Martin Petrov's right-foot curler flew just past Isaksson's left-hand post, but within two minutes the game was over.

Edman found room down the Sweden left and whipped over a glorious cross that Larsson - hurling himself horizontally at the ball - headed stunningly past Zdravkov. It is an early contender for goal of the tournament.

Just 71 seconds later the game was over, Andreas Svensson sending the ball across the face of goal for Larsson to neatly slot into the roof of the net.

Bulgaria looked shell-shocked and in truth they did not deserve such a heavy beating, though it almost got worse when Ibrahimovic danced through again only to be thwarted by Zdravkov.

It soon was four. Ljungberg's surging run was ended in the box by Vladimir Ivanov's foul and Ibrahimovic coolly slotted home the penalty.

Marcus Allback was sent on for Ibrahimovic with ten minutes to go and the Aston Villa striker sealed a magnificent display with a fine finish to make it five in injury time.


Sweden: Isaksson, Edman, Jakobsson, Mellberg, Lucic (Wilhelmsson 41), Ljungberg, Linderoth, Nilsson, Ibrahimovic (Allback 81), Svensson (Kallstrom 76), Larsson.
Subs not used: Hedman, Kihlstedt, Mjallby, Hansson, Ostlund, Andersson, Jonson, Farnerud, Wahlstedt.

Booked: Linderoth, Ibrahimovic.

Bulgaria: Zdravkov, Ivaylo Petkov, Pazhin, Kirilov, Ivanov, Martin Petrov (Lazarov 84), Hristov, Stilian Petrov, Peev, Yankovich (Dimitrov 62), Berbatov (Manchev 76).
Subs not used: Bojinov, Borimirov, Chilikov, Ivankov, Kolev, Kotev, Milen Petkov, Stoyanov, Zagorchich.

Booked: Ivaylo Petkov, Kirilov, Yankovich, Ivanov.

Attendance: 52,000.

Referee: Michael Riley (England).


OFFICIAL STATS BY UEFA
Category Sweden Bulgaria
Total shots 14 11
Shots on target 9 3
Possession 43% 57%
Corners won 5 3
Fouls committed 21 20
Offsides 5 1
Bookings 2 4
Sent Off 0 0



TRIVIA

  • The 5-0 victory marks the second biggest win ever at a European Championship and the biggest win ever for Sweden in this competition.
  • This 5-0 eclipse of Bulgaria is the second biggest victory Sweden have ever recorded at a major tournament. In the closing minutes of the match, the Swedes just improved on the result of the 3rd place play-off match at the 1994 World Cup, when they secured a 4-0 win against Bulgaria.
  • This 5-0 defeat marks the biggest defeat ever for Bulgaria at the European Championships, beating their 3-1 beating by France in 1996.
  • Henrik Larsson became Sweden's European Championship top scorer when he netted twice against Bulgaria. Larsson's competition total is now lifted to three goals, equalling the Swedish record of Tomas Brolin.





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