Elmander strike sees off Welsh

Wales 0 Sweden 1

Bolton striker Johan Elmander stunned Wales with a brilliant winner for Sweden in tonight's international friendly in Swansea.

Elmander, who has scored just twice in the Premier League this season, showed quality rarely seen at the Reebok Stadium with a fine strike on the stroke of half-time.

Ola Toivonen had earlier had a header ruled out for offside but a youthful Wales side battled hard in the second half and substitute Robert Earnshaw twice went close.

Wales, without the dynamism of Craig Bellamy and the creativity of the injured Aaron Ramsey, amongst others, lacked sparkle early on but their overall efforts offered encouragement for the Euro 2012 qualifiers next season.

Tottenham's Gareth Bale was particularly impressive after the break and with more players available, John Toshack's side could make a mark in a group that includes England.

Sweden may be going through their own transitional phase after failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1998, but they still boasted plenty of know-how.

Former Aston Villa captain Olof Mellberg was winning his 100th cap while skipper Anders Svensson, once of Southampton, and Birmingham's Sebastian Larsson added substance.

Then there was Elmander, widely regarded as a £10million flop since being signed by former Bolton boss Gary Megson in 2008, showing the class that justified his fee for almost an hour.

Yet the match had a low-key feel to it with empty stands at either end, a crowd of just 8,258 and a subdued atmosphere.In-form Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill was handed the number one jersey but then replaced by Wolves' Wayne Hennessey at half-time.

Toshack's controversial decision to omit Bellamy again saw youngsters Simon Church and Ched Evans paired together up front while Jack Collison played the advanced role normally filled by Ramsey. Fulham's Simon Davies won his first cap for almost a year.

Wales shaded the early possession but created little of note aside from a run by Church to the byline which resulted in a cross being easily claimed by goalkeeper Eddie Gustafsson.

It was 15 minutes before their first chance of note as Collison cut inside to create a shooting opportunity inside the box but his drive was deflected for a corner.

Captain James Collins got his head to the resulting set-piece but his effort was beaten away by Gustafsson.

After that Sweden began to get on top and Wales had a let-off midway through the first half as Elmander held the ball up and found former Wanderers player Christian Wilhelmsson out wide.

Wilhelmsson picked out Toivonen with his cross but the PSV Eindhoven striker's header was ruled out for offside - much to his surprise, having started celebrating the goal.

Sweden went close again after winning a free-kick 25 yards out 10 minutes before the break but Birmingham's Sebastian Larsson curled narrowly wide.

Collison tried his luck again from distance but shot well over and Sweden finished the first half strongly.

Elmander broke clear and forced a good low save from Myhill.

He then did even better from the resulting corner, controlling a bouncing ball with his chest and then firing sweetly past Myhill.

Toshack replaced Myhill with Hennessey at half-time and also brought on Nottingham Forest's Earnshaw for Evans.

Earnshaw was straight into the action and attempted to curl a shot into the bottom corner but his effort took a deflection and Collison was unable to turn it in.

Wales then enjoyed a good spell with Bale growing in influence on the left and getting forward at every opportunity.

Earnshaw also appeared to enliven the attack and brought a good save from Gustafsson on the hour.

Sweden struggled to clear a corner and Earnshaw struck a powerful left-foot shot amid the goalmouth scramble but Gustafsson showed great agility to palm away.

As is usual in friendlies, the changes then began to come thick and fast with Sam Vokes, David Cotterill, Lewin Nyatanga and Andrew Crofts all introduced. Bale and Collison were among those to make way.

Sweden came back late on, with Larsson stabbing an effort wide from distance and Tobias Hysen, son of former Liverpool defender Glenn Hysen, forcing Hennessey to save at full stretch from a Viktor Elm cross.

Elm then saw another long-range effort take a deflection and loop over the defence but Hennessey touched over the bar.

Oscar Wendt had a shot deflected narrowly wide for a corner and Elm's next effort was also blocked.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own