STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Winger Emil Forsberg lit up a chilly spring night in Stockholm with an electrifying display of skill and guile, scoring twice as Sweden hammered Belarus 4-0 in their Group A World Cup qualifier at the Friends Arena on Saturday.
The win put the Swedes on top of the six-team group on 10 points, ahead of France on goal difference, with Bulgaria due to host Netherlands and the French visiting Luxembourg later on Saturday.
Wearing the number 10 shirt inherited from former captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the 25-year-old Forsberg opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 19th minute, firing home past Andrei Gorbunov after Marcus Berg was dragged down in the box
It was a night to forget for the Belarussian keeper as he gifted Forsberg a second goal, allowing a bouncing shot to slip through his legs and roll agonisingly over the line.
Forsberg was also involved in the build-up to Sweden’s third, the referee ruling that Berg’s header had crossed the line after another attack down the left flank.
Substitute Isaac Kiese Thelin stroked home the fourth and final goal in the 78th minute, latching on to Oscar Hijemark’s pass to round off a miserable night for Belarus, who remain second from bottom in the group on two points.
Reporting by Philip O'Connor