Sweden hands Spain first World Cup qualifying defeat since 1993
STOCKHOLM —Sweden recovered from a goal down to hand Spain their first World Cup qualifying defeat for 28 years with a shock 2-1 victory on Thursday.
Alexander Isak and Viktor Claesson produced sumptuous finishes to cancel out Carlos Soler’s early goal for the Euro 2020 semifinalists and move Sweden top of Group B.
“It’s a shame, we went for the win, and probably in our best period of the game they scored their second goal,” Spain captain Sergio Busquets said.
“The group is a lot more complicated now and we don’t have things in our own hands. We were going well, but perhaps lacked a bit of luck, but we have to continue – there’s still a number of games to go, even if right now the scenario isn’t the best.”
Sweden moved onto nine points with three wins from three games, while Spain dropped to second with seven points having played a match more.
The game was barely five minutes old when Spain debutant Soler put the visitors ahead with a smart half-volley from Jordi Alba’s cross.
The lead did not last long, however, as a minute later Isak, who plays in Spain for Real Sociedad, capitalized on Busquets’s error on the edge of the box to equalize.
Both sides tested the goalkeepers as the frantic opening half continued.
Claesson latched onto Kulusevski’s center after fine work from the Juventus midfielder to fire home the winner after 57 minutes.
Ferran Torres and Adama Traore were denied equalizers by fine Robin Olsen stops, while Robin Quaison should have sealed the win for the hosts in the third minute of stoppage time, only to lift the ball over the onrushing Unai Simon and wide after Eric Garcia’s misplaced header.
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