Emil Forsberg is the first Swedish player to score in a Euro encounter since Seb Larsson who scored in 2012 against France.
Janne Andersson’s Sweden defeated Stefan Tarkovic’s Slovakia 1-0 in a Group E encounter of Euro 2020, at the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg. Emil Forsberg’s second-half penalty was enough for the former to leapfrog their opponents into first in Group E. The RB Leipzig man broke the deadlock in a confident manner, planting the spot-kick into the right-hand corner of the goal. Slovakia keeper Martin Dubravka guessed correctly but was rendered ineffective in stopping the shot, due to the perfect placement of the strike. Sweden’s last two wins at a major tournament have been 1-0 victories from a Forsberg strike at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.
“It feels absolutely amazing. I am extremely happy. It’s very nice to win. We only played half a first half, but were better in the second. We know we’re mentally strong. It was a fantastic piece of play from Quaison that led to the penalty,” said Forsberg while speaking to SVT as quoted by UEFA’s official website.
“It means an incredible amount that we won this match. There are always things you can do better but, on the whole, it is really good,” he added.
The attacker’s goal was further the first scored in an edition of the Euros by a Swedish player since Seb Larsson netted in the 2-0 victory against France nearly nine years ago.
The eventual winners executed their game plan to perfection, making amends for the lack of possession and attacking intent on show against Spain. They kept up the pressure on the opposition goal, by constantly hovering around. Gradually, they turned the pressure up with striker Alexander Isak a key factor behind the same. Isak was named as the Man of the Match, becoming the youngest player to receive the man of the match award in Euro 2020 so far. The attacker completed all six of his attempted dribbles, more than any other player on the pitch.
The performances of Mikael Lustig on the right flank and Victor Lindelof provided a major boost to Sweden. He recorded 61 touches, creating a big chance and churning out two key passes. Lustig maintained 50 percent accuracy along with 37 accurate passes out of a total of 42. Not only this, he further blocked four shots which was the most by a player in the encounter, recording three clearances and two interceptions.
Lindelof completed all his dribbles, maintaining a 92 % pass accuracy with 86 touches. He further won five out of seven duels with four ball recoveries and clearances apiece. Not only this, the defender further chipped in with two successful long balls.
Former Slovakia top scorer Robert Vittek believes that his team could have earned at least a point, if not for the penalty.
“It was a pity that there was a penalty, we could have at least earned a point. However Sweden were more actively looking for the victory,” he said.
Sweden are unbeaten so far in 2021. They have won six and drawn one of their seven international matches in the current calendar year.