France move on despite defeat

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IOL pic june20 soccer euro sweden france Reuters Sweden's Sebastian Larsson (second right) celebrates with Zlatan Ibrahimovic (centre) and other team mates after scoring a goal against France during their Group D Euro 2012 soccer match at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

Kiev - Below-par France qualified for the Euro 2012 quarterfinals as Group D runners-up on Tuesday despite a superb Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike and a late Sebastian Larsson goal condemning them to a 2-0 defeat by Sweden.

The French will play holders Spain in the last eight in Donetsk on Saturday, with group winners England, who beat co-hosts Ukraine 1-0, facing Italy in Kiev on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic's acrobatic volley from just inside the area, the striker swivelling to meet Larsson's cross, put already-eliminated Sweden ahead on 54 minutes in what will be a strong contender for goal of the tournament.

Lethargic France, grateful to keeper Hugo Lloris for some important saves to stop them falling further behind, came to life in the last 20 minutes but Sweden secured victory when Larsson followed up to score after substitute Samuel Holmen struck the crossbar. - Reuters

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