Sweden swept aside by World Cup hopefuls Belgium

Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard scored the goals as Belgium defeated Sweden 2-0 in Stockholm on Sunday.

The visitors were in the Swedish capital as part of their preparation for the World Cup in Brazil later this month and, despite a rigorous training routine which saw them take to the practice field twice a day over the course of last week, were able to ease past the hosts with little trouble.

Lukaku, who has enjoyed a goal-filled season at Everton while on loan from Chelsea, put the visitors in front on 34 minutes after his team had created a string of chances beforehand. Kim Kallstrom gave the ball away in the Swedish half with Lukaku needing no second invitation to fire home past Andreas Isaksson.

Sweden, who were without their injured inspirational star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, had the look of a team who were ready for their summer holidays. After being knocked out at the play-off stages for the World Cup by Portugal, this had been built as a game that could offer hope going into the European Championship qualifiers next season.

In truth, it proved the opposite as the Belgians looked hungrier, more organised and of a different quality. The Swedes’ only chances of note came when Ola Toivonen’s header drifted just wide and Jimmy Durmaz’s long-range effort clipped the crossbar on the way over.

Belgium appeared to cruise through the second half in second gear until Chelsea forward Hazard wrapped the game up in the 78th minute with a wonderful effort. After cutting in from the left, he played a cute one-two with Kevin De Bruyne before slotting home.

Belgium’s World Cup campaign kicks off on 17 June against Algeria in Belo Horizonte.