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Sports

Last-Gasp Villa Goal Gives Spain Victory Over Sweden

A late, late David Villa goal gave Spain a deserved 2-1 win over Sweden on Saturday and leaves them well out on top of Group D.

David Villa celebrates scoring his side's 2nd goal

Spain pulled off a win when it looked like the game was already over

The Valencia striker slipped through the weary Swedish defense in injury time and won the game with his fourth goal.

"A draw would have been really unfair since we had the best chances and they just wanted to get a draw," Villa said.

Villa said that "having six points" was "much more important" than he being tournament top scorer.

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres had Spain an early lead, only for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to equalize for Sweden before half-time.

Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, center, scores an equalizer past Spain's Iker Casillas

Ibrahimovic, center, scores an equalizer past Spain's Iker Casillas

Spain remain top of the group with six points from two games and will go through if Greece fail to beat Russia later in the evening. Sweden have three points and will need to beat Russia in their final game to be sure of a place in the quarter-finals.

Spain went ahead with their first real attack in the 15th minute.

Xavi Hernandez played a short corner for David Villa, who laid the ball back for David Silva. Silva's center was volleyed in by the stretching Torres, from just beyond the penalty spot.

Torres' goal obliged Sweden to react, and they did so manfully -- to the delight of the noisy Swedish fans in Innsbruck. Two minutes later Johan Elmander wasted a good chance to equalize down the right.


Thought they had a draw

In the 24th minute Carles Puyol limped off with a pulled muscle in his right thigh. The Spanish defense was crippled, and Sweden took advantage to make it 1-1 in the 34th minute.

Luis Aragones' defense made a mess of an Elmander center from the right. Ibrahimovic held off Sergio Ramos and scored with a soft low shot, when Iker Casillas could only push into the net.

Sweden manager Lars Lagerback surprisingly pulled off Ibrahimovic at the start of the second half, and Spain took control with their slick passing game.

Spain's David Silva, left, and Sweden's Johan Elmander, right, vie for the ball

Spain's David Silva, left, and Sweden's Johan Elmander

In the 64th minute Andreas Isaksson bravely saved from Silva, then five minutes later from Marcos Senna.

Sweden seemed delighted to settle for a draw -- and were close to achieving it.

But in the third minute of injury time, Petter Hansson failed to cut out a hopeful long ball down the left from Joan Capdevila. Villa calmly slipped the ball between Hansson and Olof Mellberg -- and won the game with a precise low drive.





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