Austria vs. Sweden: Final score 2-1, Austrian victory opens up Group C

Alexander Hassenstein

Johan Elmander scored late with a stunning chip to give Sweden a chance to earn a point, but they were unable to reverse Austria's two first half goals.

Germany has Group C locked down, but Austria took the lead in the race for a playoff spot on Friday. Sweden now face a seriously uphill climb if they want to qualify for the World Cup after their 2-1 loss to the Austrians, which leaves them in fourth place, behind Austria and Ireland by three points with a game in hand.

Austria took the lead in the 25th minute, when Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson took down Austria attacker Martin Harnik in the box. Isaksson was shown a yellow card and David Alaba stepped up to convert from the spot. Six minutes later, Harnik created another chance with a cross into the box, but the finish was the real gem. With a late run forward and a dive, Marc Janko got on the end of the ball and directed a brilliant shot to the near post to put his team up 2-0.

Sweden pulled one back through Johan Elmander in spectacular fashion, in the 82nd minute. Zlatan Ibrahimovic exploited the space behind the Austrian defense with a great ball over the top, which Elmander ran onto before chipping Robert Almer. Unfortunately for Sweden, they were unable to find an equalizer.

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