Fined for Being Boring! Ukraine Defeat Sweden in Last Round of 16 Game

One of the most successful mid-sized teams in Europe, Sweden were also one of the most tedious seen at Euro 2020. On Tuesday night, they bowed out of the competition after succumbing to defeat against Ukraine whose manager Andriy Shevchenko is slowly, but steadily matching the results of his mentor, the legendary Valeriy Lobanovskyi.

The fact that the past couple of days have been immensely entertaining in the Euros has not escaped anyone, except maybe for Sweden. Once again, the Scandinavians tried to lull their opponents into a sense of false comfort.

The Swedes’ plan relied on their conservative and compact 4-4-2 formation. The team’s strength is their defensive made up of patient, hulking players who live for the excitement of the 0-0 draw. Upfront though the North Europeans introduced some genuinely skillful players, Emil Forsberg, Alexander Isak, and Dejan Kulusevski.

Meanwhile, Ukraine, a team that was convinced they’d be eliminated the time that their final group match ended, began the match in a 3-5-2 formation. Andriy Yarmolenko was throughout the match the team’s creative mind.

Sweden vs. Ukraine was a match that tested the enthusiasm of neutral supporters everywhere. Chances were relatively few, with the teams’ players usually engaged in some form of physical battle.

In the 27th minute, Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko scored for Ukraine with a well taken shot that landed in the top corner.

This sent Sweden on a rare mission, that of finding a goal. They managed well enough when in the 43rd minute, Emil Forsberg scored after his shot was deflected into the net by Illya Zabarnyi. It was Forsberg’s fourth goal of the tournament. This would certainly lay claim for the RB Leipzig winger being the most influential Swedish player of this new generation.

Not much happened during the rest of normal time, leaving some of us wondering whether actually changing the rules of the game to accommodate more attacking action wouldn’t be a wise decision.

In the 99th minute, Marcus Danielson received a straight red card following an aggressive challenge. Finally, in the 120th minute, Sweden were made to pay for the agonizingly boring football they’ve forced us all to watch. Artem Dovbyk latched on to a cross by Zinchenko and headed home Ukraine’s winner.

Ukraine go on to face England in the Quarter-Finals. The match will be played in Rome. It’s a scenario that few Ukrainian fans envisioned during the early stages of the tournament.

Meanwhile, Sweden are out. The Scandinavians’ results are noteworthy. They won a group that included Poland and Spain. They produced on the tournament’s best scorers, Forsberg. However, their negative style of football deserved to get punished. It was a deserved win for Ukraine.



June 29, 2021 – European Championship 2020 Round of 16
SWEDEN-UKRAINE 1-2 after extra time

SCORERS: 26′ Zinchenko (U), 43′ Forsberg (S), 121′ Dovbyk (U)

SWEDEN (4-4-2): Olsen; Lustig (82′ Krafth), Lindelöf, Danielson, Augustinsson (82′ Bengttsson); S. Larsson (96′ Claesson), Olsson (100′ Helander), Ekdal, Forsberg; Kulusevski (96′ Quaison), Isak (96′ Berg) (Johnsson, Nordfeldt, Svensson, Sema, Jansson, Cajuste) Coach: Andersson
UKRAINE (4-3-3): Bushchan; Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Kryvtsov, Matviyenko; Sydorchuk (117′ Bezus), Stepanenko (94′ Makarenko), Zinchenko; Yarmolenko (106′ Dovbyk), Yaremchuk (90′ Besedin, 102′ Tsygankov), Sharapenko (60′ Malinovskyi) (Pyatov, Trubin, Sobol, Marlos, Mykolenko, Tymchyk) Coach: Shevchenko

REFEREE: Orsato (Italy)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Kulusevksi, Forsberg (S) Yarmolenko (U)