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Euro: Belgium second in group E

Belgium beat Sweden 1-0 here on Wednesday with Radja Nainggolan’s late goal, advancing to the last 16 of Euro 2016 as the Group E runners-up.

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots said, “They (Sweden) were obliged to open up, and if you do that against us, you will be punished. Six points from nine is very good and since the defeat by Italy we have been very good.”

Sweden were sent packed, finishing at the bottom of the group with only one point (1-1 with Ireland, 0-1 to both Italy and Belgium), Xinhua reported.

It was 34-year-old star Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s last game for Sweden as he had announced at the pre-match press conference that he would retire from international football.

Sweden coach Erik Hamren said, “I hope Zlatan would have had a better finish. The same goes for (goalkeeper) Issksson and (midfielder) Kallstrom, who have performed well for a long time and are also ending their Sweden careers.”

In a sense, Sweden failed to score a single goal actively in the tournament, as the 1-1 tie with Ireland was awarded by opponents’ own goal.

As Ireland stunned Italy 1-0 at the same time, Belgium, which lost 2-0 to Italy and crushed Ireland 3-0, leveled Italy on the same 6 points but had to be the runners-up for the head-to-head loss.

Ireland finished third with four points and became the last team into the knockout stage as one of the four best third-placers.

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