Forsberg hails Swedish show of strength in last-gasp Poland win

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Group E - Sweden v Poland - Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia - June 23, 2021 Sweden's Emil Forsberg applauds the fans as he is substituted off Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Sweden winger Emil Forsberg hailed his side's mentality as they topped their Euro 2020 group ahead of Spain after a thrilling 3-2 win over Poland that earned them a few extra days of rest ahead of their last-16 tie next Tuesday.

The Swedes opened with a dour 0-0 draw against Spain and beat Slovakia 1-0 thanks to a Forsberg penalty. He scored two more against the Poles as Sweden finished on seven points, two ahead of Spain.

"It's fun to score two goals, fantastic to win here again, to win the group. We had a lot of pressure on us here. It feels strange to stand here and say we won after the kind of game it was, but we won the group and it feels fantastic," Forsberg told Sweden's TV4.

"We knew that they'd come out with full power and try to win the game, we tried to defend well and counter them and as luck would have it we got an early goal," he added.

The RB Leipzig winger could only watch as another big-name Bundesliga attacker, Robert Lewandowski, scored twice to being the Poles level, but a late goal by Viktor Claesson sent Sweden top of the group.

"It showed how strong we are. There weren't many who thought that we could win this group ahead of Spain, for example. I'm incredibly proud of the team, the mentality we have shown - to win that group was strong," Forsberg said.

Forsberg is one of six players who have scored three goals in the tournament, and he will get more opportunities when the Swedes take on one of the four best third-placed teams at Hampden Park next week.

Captain Sebastian Larsson is looking forward to a break after three tough group games.

"I'd be lying if I said it hadn't been taxing on the body, but it should be like that - it's the finals of the Euros and we have to allow ourselves to enjoy winning the group, but then we'll be right back at it," Larsson said.

"We're not happy (just to be) here and it won't get easier the further we go, but we are going to battle and give everything to keep playing football this summer." he added.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor, editing by Ed Osmond)

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