STOCKHOLM, Oct 7 (Reuters) - The pressure mounted on Spain
coach Luis Aragones on Saturday as his side were beaten 2-0 by
Sweden in a Euro 2008 qualifying tie.
It was Spain's second defeat in a row in Group F, after
their humiliating 3-2 defeat in Northern Ireland, and leaves
them fifth in a group they started as favourites.
A first half goal by striker Johan Elmander and another by
Marcus Allback in the second period gave an impressive Sweden
side their third win in a row to head the group.
Afterwards Aragones, who offered to resign after the defeat
by Northern Ireland, said his future now depended on the Spanish
'When you lose two important games in succession things are
obviously very difficult, but I've spent a long time in football
and dealt with situations like this before,' he told reporters.
'My future depends on the Federation and the press.'
'From my point of view we were the better side but they were
physically very strong and played incredibly well on the break,'
Sweden, who previously beat Latvia and Liechtenstein, hardly
allowed Spain a chance in the opening half.
Elmander, replacing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, fired the home side
into the lead in the 10th minute, breaking into the right side
of the box after receiving the ball from Anders Svensson and
drilling the ball under Spanish keeper Iker Casillas.
Elmander came close to making it 2-0 before halftime when he
beat Casillas from 20 meters only to see his fierce drive
rebound off the crossbar.
Spain pressed forward in the second half and nearly
equalised in the 48th minute when Miguel Angel Angulo poked the
ball inches wide after after latching on to a cross.
Sweden keeper Rami Shaaban also made fine saves from David
Villa and Fernando Torres.
With eight minutes remaining Sweden made a lightning break
after a Spanish near-miss and Christian Wilhelmsson crossed low
for Allback who controlled the ball and left defender Carles
Puyol and Casillas for dead before slotting into an empty net.
Sweden are now in a dominant position going into their match
in Iceland on Wednesday and coach Lars Lagerback was happy with
his side's form.
'We scored two so I am pretty happy right now,' he said.
'Tactically we played pretty much as we had planned.'
Despite their poor start Aragones still believes Spain can
recover to qualify.
'We are in a complicated situation, without doubt,' he said.
'But there are still many games to play and we still have time
to rectify the situation.'