Sweden will look to end their UEFA EURO 2012 campaign on a high note as they seek to improve a barren run against France stretching back 11 games and almost 43 years when the sides meet in their final UEFA EURO 2012 Group D fixture.
France go into the teams’ first competitive meeting since 1993 with four points and sit top of the standings thanks to a 1-1 draw against England and a 2-0 defeat of co-hosts Ukraine, both in Donetsk. Sweden, meanwhile, have not found Kyiv a happy hunting ground as losses to Ukraine (1-2) and England (2-3) – having led in both games – confirmed their elimination.
While Sweden will finish bottom of Group D regardless, France will be through with a draw. If they lose, they would only be out if England lose but at the same time move level with them on either goal difference or goals scored.
The match will be preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of French football commentator Thierry Roland, who passed away on Saturday aged 74.
Sweden’s record in 17 matches against France is W4 D5 L8; they have not won in three UEFA European Championship games against Les Bleus, recording two draws and a defeat.
Sweden have only beaten Les Bleus once in seven competitive encounters, 2-0 in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in Stockholm on 15 October 1969 in their first such meeting thanks to a goal in each half from Ove Kindvall (33 penalty, 65). Their overall competitive record against France reads W1 D3 L3.
That 1969 fixture is Sweden’s most recent victory against France – competitive or friendly – with the French posting six wins and five draws subsequently.
The nations first met in Paris on 10 November 1935, with France prevailing 2-0; Sweden won the second encounter 1-0 in the French capital on 26 March 1952.
France won the most recent meeting 3-2 in Gothenberg on 20 August 2008.
The teams have met only once before at a major tournament, drawing 1-1 in Stockholm at EURO ’92. Laurent Blanc appeared for France, one of his six matches as a player against Sweden, which yielded two wins and four draws.
Selected previous meetings
20 August 2008: Sweden 2-3 France (H Larsson 5, Kallstrom 85pen; Benzema 19, Govou 61 77) – Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, friendly
Sweden: Isaksson, Mellberg (Von Schlebrugge 69), Majstorovic, P Hansson, M Nilsson (Stoor 62), D Andersson (Holmen 83), Kallstrom, A Svensson, Wilhelmsson (Wendt 46), H Larsson (Berg 62), Rosenberg.
France: Mandanda, Sagna, Gallas, Mexès, Evra, Govou, Toulalan (Gourcuff 90), L Diarra, Malouda (Alou Diarra 70), Benzema, Henry.
Henrik Larsson’s 37th and final Sweden strike put Lars Lagerbäck’s side ahead but Karim Benzema swiftly levelled for the visitors. Sidney Govou’s second-half double won this friendly for Raymond Domenech’s France despite a late response from the penalty spot by Kim Kallstrom.
10 June 1992: Sweden 1-1 France (J Erikssen 24; Papin 58) – Råsunda Stadium, Solna, EURO ’92 group stage
Sweden: Ravelli, R Nilsson, P Andersson, Bjorklund, J Eriksson, Ingesson, Schwarz, Thern, Limpar, Brolin, K Andersson (Dahlin 74).
France:Martini, Angloma (Fernandez 66), Boli, Blanc, Casoni, Amoros, Sauzee, Deschamps, Cantona, Papin, Vahirua (Perez 46).
Tommy Svensson’s Sweden were pegged back by Michel Platini’s France in their opening fixture of EURO ’92. Les Bleus did not progress beyond the group stage while section winners Sweden lost to Germany in the semi-finals.
France earned two UEFA European Championship qualifying draws against Ukraine in Kyiv – 0-0 on 4 September 1999, a match in which Blanc played, and 2-2 on 21 November 2007 in their 700th senior fixture.
France fell at the group stage at the 2010 World Cup and UEFA EURO 2008, failing to win a game at either tournament.
Sweden last appeared at a major tournament at UEFA EURO 2008, which they exited at the group stage after one win and two losses.