An Emil Forsberg penalty gave Sweden their first win of Euro 2020 as Slovakia failed to build on their good start to the tournament.
Janne Andersson stuck with the same team that drew 0-0 against Spain despite Dejan Kulusevski returning to the squad following a period of self-isolation due to testing positive for Covid-19.
A cagey first half saw very few opportunities created with Marek Hamsik frustrated in his attempts to make something happen for a Slovakia team looking to build on their win over Poland.
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Juraj Kucka forced Robin Olsen into a good save just before the hour mark only for the flag to be raised for offside. This was moments before Marcus Danielson and Ludwig Augustinsson had headers stopped by Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
Alexander Isak became more of a factor as the match progressed, but largely had to make do with attacking crosses into the box as Sweden struggled to construct passing moves with the ball at their feet.
Dubravka made another good save to deny Isak following a brilliant piece of individual play, but gave away a penalty kick on 76 minutes by bringing down Robin Quaison. Forsberg converted the spot kick to give Sweden the lead.
Isak continued to threaten, but couldn’t find a second. Nonetheless, Sweden claimed a 1-0 win to significantly boost their chances of making the last 16 with a final Group E fixture against Poland to come.
Isak was Sweden's man of the match
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - Sweden’s pragmatic approach has put them in a good position
Sweden probably aren’t the neutral’s favourite at this tournament given how they have played against Spain and here, but their pragmatism has paid off. Four points will likely be enough to send the Blue and Yellows into the last 16 of Euro 2020, with Andersson setting up his team to defend first and then press for a goal, which came in this 1-0 win over Slovakia. Sweden are a difficult side to break down and that could make them difficult to beat at this tournament.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Alexander Isak (Sweden)
Isak’s second half performance demonstrated why he is considered one of the best young strikers in the European game right now. Indeed, the 21-year-old dragged Sweden forward, creating opportunities almost on his own. His through ball created the chance that led to the decisive penalty kick and on another day he would have found the back of the net himself. What a talent.
Sweden - Olsen 7, Lustig 6, Lindelof 7, Danielson 7, Augustinsson 8, Larsson 6, Olsson 6, Ekdal 7, Forsberg 7, Berg 4, Isak 8. Subs - Krafth 3, Quaison 7, Claesson 7, Svensson 4, Bengtsson 4.
Slovakia - Dubravka 6, Pekarik 5, Satka 5, Skriniar 5, Hubocan 6, Kucka 7, Hrosovsky 4, Koscelnik 6, Hamsik 6, Mak 6, Duda 5. Subs - Duris 4, Hancko 4, Haraslin 3, Weiss 6, Benes 3.
60’ Augustinsson is denied! Now Sweden come close to opening the scoring! Augustinsson gets on the end of the Larsson cross into the box, but Dubravka makes the save!
61’ Over the bar! Another good chance for Sweden! Isak knocks a corner kick delivery back into the danger area, but Danielson heads over the crossbar when he should have hit the target!
71’ Brilliant from Isak! That would have been a great goal by the Swedish striker! He carried the ball from deep, cut inside on to his right foot and got the low shot away, but Dubravka saves!
76’ PENALTY KICK TO SWEDEN! Quaison is brought down in the area by Dubravka and the referee points to the spot!
77’ GOAL! Sweden 1-0 Slovakia: Forsberg steps up and makes no mistake from the penalty spot! Dubravka guessed the right way, but there was too much power and it was too well placed by the RB Leipzig attacker for the Slovakian goalkeeper to get there in time!
Alexander Isak completed more take-ons (six) and had more shots (four) than any other player on the pitch.
88& of the goals Sweden have scored at the Euros have been scored in the second half of games (23/26).
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