The battle between nordic rivals Sweden and Denmark in the Euro 2016 qualifiers playoffs was judged to be a tough fight beforehand. Much of the talk in media was about Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic and if he still had what it takes to be the decisive force in important matches. After two matches were played, Zlatan had done three goals.
Zlatan retired Denmark
Time for retirement, a Danish newspaper wrote beforehand. “I retired the entire Danish team”, Zlatan answered after the playoffs were over. Sweden qualified to the 2016 European Championships in France next summer. In the first match at home, Sweden were dominating the field for a long time. After 50 minutes of play, they had a 2-0 lead after goals by Emil Forsberg and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (penalty shot). Denmark came back though and scored the important 1-2 away goal.
In the return meeting, Denmark had an overall 60-40 advantage in ball possession the entire match, but failed to create much in their offense. Sweden at the other hand, had Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Denmark failed to convert on 7 attempts, Sweden just needed 1, on a corner. Zlatan broke free from his defender and scored 1-0 with an elegant wrister. 2-0 came in the second half. It was a free kick of superior quality and perfection. Zlatan one again silenced the opposition and Sweden get to enjoy another warm summer with a football championship.
24 teams in the 2016 European Championships
In the other playoffs, Ukraine eliminated Slovenia, Ireland Bosnia-Hercegovina and Hungary Norway. That gives us the following teams in the 2016 European Championships:
The group draw will take place in France, December 12. We will return with a full report of the groups with odds and predictions.