A 34-man strong Swedish national soccer team took home silver from the Cyprus Cup, a friendly tournament between Sweden, Romania, Ukraine and Cyprus.
Sweden took on Ukraine Feb. 9 in Nicosia and after playing to a 1-1 draw, lost 5-4 I the penalty kick shootout. Head coach Erik Hamrén used a team of veterans and newcomers as he began his preparations for qualification for the 2014 European Championship. Sweden’s first qualifier is March 9 against Moldova at Råsunda Stadium in Solna.
Against Cyprus on Feb. 8 in a 2-0 win, Hamrén used a mostly untested young side that included Ola Toivonen, Rasmus Elm, Alexander Gerndt and Martin Olsson as well as Marcus Berg and Tobias Hysén and Johan Wiland in goal.
The youngsters ran roughshod over their hosts, with Hysén scoring 26 minutes into the match while Berg tallied at the stroke of halftime. Hamrén said he thought Sweden played better as a team in the second, although the blagult failed to score. Jimmy Durmaz, Sebastien Eriksson and Pierre Bengtsson all made their debuts for the full national team in the match.
The next day against Ukraine, Hamrén started a more usual lineup featuring Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Johan Elmander, Kim Källström and Andreas Isaaksson. Elmander put Sweden in front after seven minutes. Ukraine tied the match 13 minutes later when Marko Devic beat Isaaksson from the penalty spot.
The game remained tied through regulation and the two teams went to penalties. Isaaksson started the show by saving Ukraine’s first shot from Artem Kravets. With after trading goals, Källström shot over the bar, giving Ukraine the chance to grab the lead. Trailing 4-3, Michael Lustig calmly hit his penalty to tie the score and sent the shootout into sudden death.
After Yehven Konoplyanka put Ukraine up 5-4, Emir Bajrami watched as Oleksandr Shovkovskiy saved his shot, giving Ukraine the gold.

by Chipp Reid