Spain loses to Sweden, suffers first World Cup qualifying defeat since 1993

Alexander Isak and Viktor Claesson produced sumptuous finishes to cancel Carlos Soler's early goal for the Euro 2020 semifinalist and move Sweden top of Group B.

Sweden's Viktor Claesson celebrates after scoring a goal during the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification Group B football match between Sweden and Spain.   -  AFP

Sweden recovered from a goal down to hand Spain its first World Cup qualifying defeat for 28 years with a shock 2-1 victory on Thursday.

Alexander Isak and Viktor Claesson produced sumptuous finishes to cancel Carlos Soler's early goal for the Euro 2020 semifinalist and move Sweden top of Group B.

"It's a shame, we went for the win, and probably in our best period of the game, they scored their second goal," Spain captain Sergio Busquets said.

"The group is a lot more complicated now, and we don't have things in our own hands. We were going well but perhaps lacked a bit of luck, but we have to continue - there's still a number of games to go, even if right now the scenario isn't the best."

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Sweden moved onto nine points with three wins from three games, while Spain dropped to second with seven points, having played a match more.

 

The game was barely five minutes old when Spain debutant Soler put the visitor ahead with a smart half-volley from Jordi Alba's cross.

The lead did not last long, however, as a minute later Isak, who plays in Spain for Real Sociedad, capitalised on Busquets's error on the edge of the box to equalise.

Both sides tested the goalkeepers as the frantic opening half continued.

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Claesson latched onto Kulusevski's centre after fine work from the Juventus midfielder to fire home the winner after 57 minutes.

Ferran Torres and Adama Traore were denied equalisers by fine Robin Olsen stops. Robin Quaison should have sealed the win for the host in the third minute of stoppage time, only to lift the ball over the onrushing Unai Simon and wide after Eric Garcia's misplaced header.

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