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Zlatan Suspended for Sweden's World Cup Playoff Semifinal After Hit on Azpilicueta

Zlatan Ibrahimović is used to making headlines on the field, but his latest headline will guarantee that he's off the field for Sweden's World Cup qualifying playoff semifinal.

After coming on as a second-half substitute Sunday against Spain, Ibrahimović charged Spain's Cesar Azpilicueta and violently checked the Chelsea defender with his shoulder. 

The Sweden star was given a yellow card, his second of the qualifying round, which means he will be suspended for the team's first World Cup playoff match in March.

To make matters worse, the incident occurred in the 93rd minute, just as the match was winding down. Spain pulled out the victory thanks to an 86th-minute winner from Álvaro Morata, winning the group and earning automatic qualification into the 2022 World Cup.

Despite taking a hit from the 6-foot-5 Ibrahimović, Azpilicueta seemed to be in good spirits after the win.

The new UEFA playoff structure will feature the 10 group runners-up and the top two remaining UEFA Nations League teams. The 12 nations will be drawn into three separate, seeded playoffs, where the sides will play a single-elimination, one-leg semifinal and final. The winners of each playoff bracket will book the final three European tickets to Qatar. 

The draw will take place on Nov. 26, but what's for certain is that Sweden will have to play its first elimination match without its legendary striker.

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