SWEDEN: Ravelli, Nilsson, P. Andersson, Bjorklund, Sundgren, Schwarz, Zetterberg (A. Andersson, 76), Alexandersson (Larsson, 68), Thern, Blomqvist, Dahlin (K. Andersson, 17)
Scorer: K. Andersson (43, 63)
SCOTLAND: Leighton, Burley, Boyd, Calderwood, Hendry, McKinlay (Gemmill 68), Gallacher, Lambert, Jackson (Durie 66), G. McAllister, Collins.
Scorer: Gallacher (83)
Referee: P. Collina (Italy).
A huge Scotland support turned up in Gothenburg to see this vital qualifying match. A point for Scotland would have almost sealed thier place in the France '98.
Being a party day in Sweden (celebration of the last day of the winter), the Swedes were out in force and the party was really on. A full house of 40,000+ fans proved to be providing a good atmousphere for this match.
The Swedes came out strong and during the first 10-15 minutes, Scotland looked very, very shaky. Sweden showed that they were prepared to attack in numbers and take the game to the Scots. Scotland were certainly outclassed and Sweden should have probably taken an early lead if they could have just kept their composure at the finish.
Eventually, Hendry and Calderwood began to shore up the defence and showed good determination to repel the onslaught of Swedish attacks. The defence held on however and, although Scotland didn't attack much during the first half (Gallagher had one half chance and McAllister fluffed a long shot), one began to beleive that they might just conjure up on of those battling devensive performance which we turned out against the likes of Holland in Euro '96 and Russia in Moscow.
This of course was not to be ! Invariably, at that sickening moment when you begin to beleive that something might come true, it all goes horribly wrong. This evening was not to be an exception ! Only 2 minutes before half time Kennet Andersen stormed through and blasted Sweden into the lead with a superb long range effort.
The second half didn't change much with the Swedes continuing to pressure the Scots goal. One shot rebounded off the bar and it was frankly only a matter of time until Sweden would seal the game. This they duly did just under 20 minutes into the second half when Kennet Andersen beat the last Scottish defender and punched a low shot past the flailing Leighton and complete his double.
2-0 down and Scotland were looking Buried. Brown brought on Durie and Gemmill to replace McKinlay and Jackson (well and truly back to his normal form again). They certainly bucked up the Scots attack and one wonders why they wern't on from the start. Just 7 minutes from time, Kevin Gallacher sneaked in from a corner to nod past Ravelli (apparantly his 138th cap for Sweden !?) and offer the faintest of lifelines to Scotland.
Scotland battled on bravely but didn't manage to get the equaliser. The Italian referee remained true to form and could be likened to that German numpty FIFA sent us for the Estonia game at Rugby Park. A stonewall penalty was refused at the death when Gallacher was clearly felled inside the box. Scotland beaten.
The match itself was played in a good spirit with the vast majority of the fans were in high spirits. However, a very small minority of Scots 'casuals' had travelled to Sweden (about 40 - 50 in total - only about half of whom went to the match). A worrying number of Swedish racists were also in town and there was one incident in the city during the afternoon where the racist skinheads attacked some coloured guys and hospitalised one of them.
Other trouble was brewing (assuming it was all planned) however and several of the casuals were travelling back on the late flight to Glasgow. Unfortunately, these arses caused trouble at the airport (between themselves mainly) and 22 of them were detained by airport security staff. Their flight was then turned back from Glasgow because of trouble on board and a further 5 were arrested at Gothenburg.
The real supporters gave them abuse before and during the match. Some casuals even attempted to cause some trouble inside the stadium but this was controlled relatively quickly. Several videos and still photos of these hoolies were taken and I'm sure they will be passed on to the SFA to ensure that they are not able to acquire match tickets in future. Something should be done to prevent these animals from having a chance to cause trouble in the future.
Verdict: Scotland outclassed by Sweden. Losing this match means that the Scots qualification for france is long from certain and they will have to win their remaining 3 matches to make sure of at least 2nd place. If Sweden win all their remaining games, they win the group, same goes for Austria.