SWEDEN 2-1 HUNGARY, Solna, 11/09/08
Kallstrom 55, Holmen 64, Rudolf 90
Sweden are the new UFWC Champions, having defeated Hungary 2-1 in this World Cup Qualifier.
The Swedes were booed from the pitch after a disappointing first half, but recovered to win, largely thanks to the efforts of veteran striker Henrik Larsson. The 37-year-old skipper, playing his 101st game for his country, set up both goals – the first for Kim Kallstrom in the 55th minute. Lyon midfielder Kallstrom started the move, sending Larsson away down the left wing, and continuing his run into the box to head home Larsson’s cross from close range.
Next Larsson set up Samuel Holmen, who slotted the ball past Hungary keeper Gabor Babos in the 64th minute.
An unimpressive Hungary stumbled across a consolation goal with the very last touch of the game, with substitute Gergely Rudolf chesting the ball into the Swedish net, and the referee immediately blowing the full-time whistle without restarting play.
Sweden have excellent UFWC form – this was the country’s 26th UFWC title match victory, and they are ranked 9th overall. However, the Swedes have plummeted in FIFA’s word rankings over the last three years, dropping from the top 10 to 31st.
Sweden’s first defence of their title this time around will be against Portugal in Solna on 11 October 2008. The last match between the two nations, in 2004, resulted in a 2-2 draw, but Portugal won the previous match, in Gothenburg in 2002, 3-2. Portugal have only ever won two UFWC title matches, but have been a regular fixture in FIFA’s top ten ranked teams in the world for the last four years. Sweden have home advantage and the UFWC title, but Portugal have recent form.
Sweden: Andreas Isaksson, Olof Mellberg, Daniel Majstorovic, Petter Hansson, Mikael Nilsson, Sebastian Larsson, Kim Kallstrom, Daniel Andersson, Samuel Holmen, Henrik Larsson, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Markus Rosenberg, 81).
Hungary: Gabor Babos, Roland Juhasz, Vilmos Vanczak, Zoltan Szelesi, Zoltan Gera, Tamas Hajnal, Pal Dardai (Gergely Rudolf, 70), Krisztian Vadocz, Boldizsar Bodor (Balazs Dzsudzsak, 80), Sandor Torghelle, Szabolcs Huszti.