FOOTBALL NEWS FROM Euro 2012
Sweden blitz seals automatic spot
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Sweden booked their place at Euro 2012 after two goals in a minute early in the second period secured victory over Holland on a famous night at the Rasunda Stadium.

The Dutch had already booked their ticket to next summer's showpiece as Group E winners prior to tonight's fixtures, but for Sweden the picture was less clear cut.

Erik Hamren's side were already assured of second place and a play-off spot, but needed a win tonight to seal the final automatic place awarded to the best runner-up across the nine qualifying groups.

Things looked rosy for the hosts when Kim Kallstrom fired them into a 14th-minute lead, but the game turned on its head when Klaas Jan Huntelaar levelled and Dirk Kuyt fired the Dutch in front on 50 minutes.

But the Swedish fightback was swift in coming, Sebastian Larsson restoring parity on 52 minutes after Jeffrey Bruma handled in the area, before Ola Toivonen added a third 60 seconds later to send Sweden through.

Kallstrom fired the hosts into the lead inside quarter of an hour after Johan Elmander had been brought down by Bruma 25 yards from goal.

The Lyon midfielder had the expectation of the crowd on his shoulders as he stepped up for the set-piece but showed no signs of nerves as he despatched a trademark free-kick into the top-right corner of Michel Vorm's net.

The lead lasted just eight minutes, the Dutch getting back on level terms when Erik Pieters crossed from the left wing and Huntelaar headed home.

Toivonen had a good chance to restore Sweden's lead on 31 minutes when he fired over from six yards, while moments later Holland frontman Robin van Persie took aim from distance but the ball flew wide of the upright.

Sweden's hopes were further dented on 50 minutes when Huntelaar's header was only parried by Andreas Isaksson and Kuyt was on hand to snaffle the rebound from close range.

The Swedish fans were dreaming again just moments later, however, the home side launching an immediate attack from the restart which resulted in Bruma, who was having a difficult night in the heart of the Holland backline, handling in his own box.

Sunderland midfielder Larsson stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and won the battle of wits with Vorm, tucking the ball home low into the left corner.

And within a minute it was three for the hosts as Elmander laid the ball off from the right side of the area for Toivonen to collect and unleash a powerful left-footed effort high into Vorm's net.

The Swedes still had more than half an hour of Dutch pressure to withstand, with Huntelaar seeing a close-range header well saved by Isaksson and Mark Van Bommel firing in testing efforts on more than one occasion.

However, a brave rearguard action kept the visitors at bay as Sweden deservedly booked their ticket for Poland and Ukraine.
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