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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 20:35 GMT 21:35 UK
Italy 1-1 Sweden

Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbed an equaliser for Sweden
A late goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic earned Sweden a draw and put a major dent in Italy's Euro 2004 hopes.

The Italians went in front when Christian Panucci crossed for Antonio Cassano to guide a glancing header into the bottom corner.

Christian Vieri and Alessandro Del Piero missed chances to seal the game.

But Sweden threatened late on and Mattias Jonson went close before Ibrahimovic scored with an outrageous flick after a goalmouth scramble.

Italy will go into their final game against Bulgaria knowing even a win might not be enough to keep them in the tournament.

Knowing defeat would end their Euro 2004 hopes, Italy cast aside their usual defensive instincts and threw men forward in numbers.

We are happy we got this point and it was a beautiful goal
Henrik Larsson
Within three minutes they had threatened the Swedish goal, Del Piero finding Vieri with a long ball and he outmuscled Erik Edman.

But, after doing the hard work, he was unable to produce a shot on goal.

Sweden responded with Ibrahimovic releasing Freddie Ljungberg, who returned the favour with a neat backheel but the big striker wasted the chance by firing over from a decent position.

But it was a rare moment of promise for the Swedes as they struggled to contain a persistent and inventive Italian attack.

27 mins: Isaksson saves from a Del Piero shot that is deflected off Mellberg
36 mins: Panucci crosses for Cassano to head Italy in front
84 mins: Ibrahimovic grabs a late equaliser for Sweden

Vieri headed over from a good position and Del Piero sidefooted wide after Gianluca Zambrotta had done well down the left.

When Italy did manage to find the target they found Andreas Isaksson a tough obstacle to overcome.

The keeper pulled off a fine save to push around the post a Del Piero shot that was deflected off Olof Mellberg and was heading for the bottom corner.

Both full-backs were given licence to attack and Zambrotta found space on the left to cross for Vieri who again headed over the top.

When the deadlock was finally broken it came from Panucci, who was causing as many problems for Sweden down the right as Zambrotta was the left.

When they scored I thought there might have been a foul on Zambrotta
Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni
The full-back cut inside Ljungberg and Edman and put in an inviting cross that an unmarked Cassano beautifully directed into the bottom corner.

On the stroke of half time the pair almost combined for a second goal as Panucci crossed but this time Cassano headed straight at Isaksson.

Henrik Larsson finally got a sniff of goal early in the second half when he found space inside the box, but he fired a wild shot into the crowd.

Italy were not quite the attacking force in the second period but they still carved out chances, with Vieri again going close with a shot from another Panucci centre.

Italy looked headed for victory until late on
Italy looked headed for victory until late on
Del Piero also headed over and went close with an ambitious flick.

But Italy played a dangerous game late on as Sweden pushed forward and Jonson twice went close to grabbing an equaliser after being set up by Larsson.

The substitute saw a drilled effort brilliantly kept out by Gianluigi Buffon and then he headed over.

But Ibrahimovic equalised when the striker beat Buffon to the ball and flicked it with the outside of his boot into the top corner.

There was still time for Vieri to snatch all three points but again he headed over the bar.

Italy: Buffon, Panucci, Nesta, Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Gattuso (Favalli 76), Pirlo, Perrotta, Cassano (Fiore 70), Vieri, Del Piero (Camoranesi 82).
Subs not used: Peruzzi, Toldo, Corradi, Di Vaio, Ferrari, Materazzi, Oddo, Zanetti.

Booked: Gattuso, Cannavaro, Zambrotta.

Sweden: Isaksson, Nilsson, Mellberg, Jakobsson, Edman (Allback 77), Wilhelmsson (Jonson 67), Linderoth, Svensson (Kallstrom 55), Ljungberg, Larsson, Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: Kihlstedt, Hedman, Andersson, Farnerud, Hansson, Lucic, Mjallby, Ostlund, Wahlstedt.

Booked: Edman, Linderoth.

Attendance: 44,926.

Referee: Urs Meier (Switzerland).

Category Italy Sweden
Total shots 19 11
Shots on target 8 4
Possession 54% 46%
Corners won 10 5
Fouls committed 14 21
Offsides 5 2
Bookings 3 2
Sent Off 0 0


  • Italy have not lost in their last seven competitive matches. Their last defeat came on 16 October 2002 in their European Championship qualification match in Wales when they lost 2-1.
  • Since Euro 2000 Sweden have lost only twice in 23 competitive matches. Their only other losses came against Senegal in the World Cup 2002 in extra time and against Latvia (0-1) in Euro 2004 qualifying at a time that Sweden had already qualified.
  • The most experienced player in the Italian squad, Fabio Cannavaro, won his 80th cap in this game. If Cannavaro is fielded in the last group match against Bulgaria he will equal Marco Tardelli, Franco Baresi and Giuseppe Bergomi for a joint fourth place in the top ten with most caps for Italy which is led by Paolo Maldini with 126 caps.

    Links to more Euro 2004 stories



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