Sheffield United: Robin Olsen's Sweden condemned to World Cup play-offs as season struggles continue
Robin Olsen’s struggles this season intensified on Sunday evening as Sweden were condemned to the World Cup play-offs after losing late on to Spain.
The Swede No.1, who has arguably failed to live up to his established reputation after arriving at Bramall Lane on loan from AS Roma, was beaten by Alvaro Morata’s 86th-minute strike as Spain booked their place in Qatar.
Olsen and Co. must navigate the tricky play-offs if they are to join them, though, after failing to secure the victory which would have sealed automatic qualification.
Olsen, who has not covered himself in glory in recent weeks in conceding goals against Millwall and Blackburn, was in fairness unfortunate to concede Morata’s late winning goal.
The Swede did excellently to tip Dani Olmo’s thunderous, long-range effort onto his own crossbar - only to watch the ball rebound to the unmarked Morata, who had the easiest task to lift it home and book his country’s spot at Qatar 2022.
Olsen’s side finished the game without a shot on target and having had 28 per cent possession, but striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic insisted Sweden played “a very good game”.
“We played a good game, a very good game. We made a mistake on the goal and they got a shot away and scored from the rebound,” he said.
“Otherwise it was a good performance overall. We had good chances, better chances than Spain had.”
Elsewhere, Portugal were also condemned to the play-offs after an injury-time defeat to Serbia, with Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrović heading the winner – his 23rd goal in 22 appearances for club and country this season, and his 11th in his last seven games.