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Rediff.com  » Sports » Euro warm-up: Sweden in goalless draw with Slovenia; France edge Cameroon

Euro warm-up: Sweden in goalless draw with Slovenia; France edge Cameroon

May 31, 2016 13:14 IST

Sweden's John Guidetti heads a ball away from a Slovenian player as teamate Isaac Kiese Thelin watch duirng their international friendly in Malmo, on Monday

IMAGE: Sweden's John Guidetti heads a ball away from a Slovenian player as teamate Isaac Kiese Thelin watch duirng their international friendly in Malmo, on Monday. Photograph: Lars Dareberg/Ombrello/Getty Images

Sweden missed the influence of captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was resting a sore calf muscle, as they struggled to create chances in a dull 0-0 draw with Slovenia in their penultimate Euro 2016 warm-up in Malmo on Monday.

With their record scorer on the bench and many other players yet to join the squad, Sweden coach Erik Hamren fielded an experimental lineup bearing little resemblance to the one that will kick off their campaign against Ireland on June 13.

Hamren gave Celta Vigo striker John Guidetti a chance to stake a claim for a starting spot alongside Ibrahimovic and the 24-year-old put in an energetic performance, almost breaking the deadlock with a curling second-half shot that flew just over.

Sebastian Larsson also took a free kick from a dangerous position for the Swedes, but he too could not keep the ball down and it flew harmlessly over the bar.

With midfielder Kim Kallstrom resting a tight groin and Albin Ekdal still recovering from a back injury, Sweden lacked a player with the passing ability to unlock Slovenia's defence.

The visitors threatened several times on the break but goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson, having been made captain in Ibrahimovic's absence, was in no mood to spoil the occasion by conceding a goal.

With lots of empty seats at the Swedbank Stadium, the biggest cheers on the night were reserved for hometown favourite Ibrahimovic, whose every appearance on the big screens was met with rapturous applause.

Sweden take on fellow Euro 2016 finalists Wales in their final pre-tournament friendly in Stockholm on Sunday before heading to France, where they will face Italy and Belgium as well as Ireland in Group E.

Payet helps Euro hosts France past Cameroon

Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring the winner against Cameroon on Monday

IMAGE: Dimitri Payet celebrates after scoring the winner against Cameroon on Monday. Photograph: France football/Twitter

West Ham's Dimitri Payet scored a last-gasp wonder free-kick to help Euro 2016 hosts France snatch a dramatic 3-2 victory over Cameroon on Monday.

The attacking midfielder stepped up on the stroke of regulation time to curl a magnificent free-kick past Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa.

France opened the scoring through Paris Saint-Germain's Blaise Matuidi before Cameroon immediately drew level thanks to Porto striker Vincent Aboubakar.

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud handed the home side the lead again just before half-time, Eric Choupo Moting equalising before Payet's cherry on the cake.

"There are things we can improve but it was our first match after a long period without competition for some players," said France coach Didier Deschamps.

"It's the first game that Adil Rami and Laurent Koscielny have played together in a long time and we were up against a quality team.

"Cameroon played in a new system with power and speed in midfield and up front," said Deschamps, adding: "I wasn't expecting perfection, but the spirit is there."

Cameroon coach Hugo Broos said: "For me the score is 2-2 because we were only beaten by a magnificent free kick by Dimitri Payet, a real talent.

"The players can be proud of their performance. I hope we keep this same spirit against Mauritania (African Cup of Nations qualifier)."

 

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