STOCKHOLM, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Striker Marcus Berg scored four goals and Andreas Granqvist netted two penalties as Sweden ran riot in front of a record crowd of 50,022 at the Friends Arena, hammering Luxembourg 8-0 to replace France as leaders of World Cup qualifying Group A.
The Swedes now have 19 points and will secure second place if Bulgaria fail to beat the French and Netherlands don’t get a victory over Belarus later on Saturday. France can reclaim top spot if they beat the Bulgarians.
Striker Ola Toivonen was hacked down making a clever spin move in the box, and Sweden captain Granqvist slammed home the resulting spot-kick to give the Swedes the lead in the 10th minute.
Berg made it 2-0 eight minutes later, sweeping the ball home after Mikael Lustig, Emil Forsberg and Toivonen all combined to set him up.
He made it three before half-time, collecting Toivonen’s sublime pass, chipping the ball over goalkeeper Jonathan Joubert and nodding it into an empty net, and he completed his hat-trick nine minutes into the second half with a curling shot.
Lustig headed home a free kick on the hour mark with what proved to be his last touch of the game, running to celebrate with Emil Krafth who was waiting on the sideline to replace him, and Granqvist added a second penalty in the 67th minute.
Berg netted his fourth goal of the night with a looping header in the 71st minute, and Toivonen scored Sweden’s eighth with a stunning side-footed volley six minutes later after a superb long ball by Krafth.
The Swedes now travel to Amsterdam to face Netherlands in their final group game, while France host Belarus and Luxembourg are at home to Bulgaria.