International Matches - Under 21

Sweden 2 - Spain 0

Sweden: Isaksson; Stenman, Gerrbrand, Antonsson, Dorsin; Johansson, Jönsson, Kallström, Hysen (Stefanidis 72'); Farnerud, Elmander. 4-4-2.
Spain: Víctor Valdés; Angel, Pablo, Jarque, Del Horno; Arzu, Arteta (Corona 82'); Valdo Jorge (Villa 69'), Riera (Aganzo 74'); Rubén Castro. 4-2-3-1.

1-0. 54. Farnerud. Shot across Víctor after quick passing move.
2-0. 92. Kallström. Picked up pass from Elmander to shoot past keeper.

Spain's under 21 side have a difficult task ahead of them after falling to a 2-0 defeat in the first leg of their Euro 2004 qualifier. The youngsters were hopeful of going through to the final stage after topping their group, even though Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Reyes were no longer available as they had migrated to the first team. But they found it hard going at first on a pitch made wet by the rain, and didn't get into gear until later in the first half when, inspired by Arteta, Jorge and Rubén Castro both tested Isaksson.

The Swedes came out strongly though after the break, and Jönsson had a goal disallowed for a previous foul by Gerrbrand on Víctor Valdés. A few minutes later Stenman's long pass found Elmander, and he combined with Jönsson to set up Farnerud for the opening goal. And only a couple of minutes later the Swedish striker could have made it two when he shot against the post.

Isaksson had to save again from Del Horno, but otherwise Spain were up against it and Santiesteban decided to make changes, bringing on forwards David Villa and then Aganzo. A few minutes later they had their chance to equalize when Dorsin brought down Rubén Castro in the area, but with first choice penalty taker Arteta just replaced by Corona only two minutes before, Villa stepped up a fired his kick over the bar.

It was a big blow for the Spaniards, and Sweden took advantage to push forward again. Elmander hit the bar with the keeper beaten, and with the game going into time added on, Elmander again broke free down the right and laid the ball back for Kallström to make it two. Spain now need a minor miracle to turn this tie around in the second leg in Extremadura next Wednesday, but if they don't get it then they are not only out of the European tournament, but also the Olympic games, the European qualifiers for such coming from the four semi-finalists of that competition.