June 20, 2012
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France through despite Swedish defeat

France qualified for the knockout stages of a major finals for the first time in six years here on Tuesday despite losing their final Euro 2012 Group D match 2-0 to already eliminated Sweden.

A brilliant bicycle kick by Sweden's inspirational captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 54th minute gave them the lead with the outstanding Sebastian Larsson adding a second in the final minute of normal time.

It handed the Swedes not only their first points of the group stage but also their first win over France in almost 43 years dating back to October 1969.

The French, who also saw their 23-match unbeaten run ended, progress in second place in the group after England beat co-hosts Ukraine 1-0 in the other game to finish top.

France - who last reached the knockout stages of a major finals in the 2006 World Cup - will play champions Spain in the last eight.

AFP

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