Only two years after a Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick in Stockholm denied Sweden a place at the 2014 World Cup, the Swedes' turbulent Euro 2016 qualifying campaign sees them once again in the lottery of the play-offs.
Despite possessing the mercurial striker that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden have fumbled to a lowly third place in Group G.
Table winners Austria and runners-up Russia have grabbed the top two spots, leaving ‘Ibra’ and co. clutching at straws.
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It has proven a frustrating recent history for Sweden when it comes to major competitions, with a brief bout at Euro 2012 proving their only appearance in the last seven years.
Two World Cups have passed since the Scandinavian nation graced its stage and the nation will be desperate to reach France 2016 to quash the recent tournament strife.
A 2-0 win for Russia proved the fatal blow as last night saw Montenegro put to the sword in Moscow. The result confirmed Sweden’s fate, with their win over Moldova by the same score line proving irrelevant.
Sweden will have to wait to find out with whom they will duel in November, but regardless of the opponent the pressure is on.
Cristiano Ronaldo ended their previous play-off game, for a spot in Brazil, in merciless fashion so Erik Hamrén’s men will almost certainly be hoping for softer opponents this time.
Defeat in Russia, as well as a catastrophic 4-1 home defeat to group toppers Austria, has seen the Swedes pay the price and whether they will perform under the play-off pressure is yet to be seen.
However, most football fans will have their fingers firmly crossed that Ibrahimovic will be gracing France next summer.
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