Sweden counting on ‘Technology Zlatan’ for Euro success


By Philip O’Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Euro 2020 by harm however coach Janne Andersson will hope ‘Technology Z’ – the younger males who grew up idolising Ibra – will go additional than on the World Cup in 2018 once they exited within the quarter-finals.

A knee harm has dominated out Sweden’s 39-year-old report scorer Ibrahimovic, who returned to the fold in March after 5 years in worldwide retirement, however he has left a legacy.

Striker Alexander Isak was born the day after Zlatan made his senior debut for Malmo FF in 1999 and gamers like him, Robin Quaison, 27, and Dejan Kulusevski, 21, have by no means identified a time when Zlatan was not the most important attract Swedish soccer.

Added to that attacking trio are Viktor Claesson and Emil Forsberg, who’re each able to creating and ending possibilities, and fellow midfielder Kristoffer Olsson, who has turn out to be indispensable in Sweden’s midfield.

The postponement of the Euros by a yr has seen Isak blossom at Actual Sociedad, with 17 objectives in 34 La Liga video games this season, and the striker will hope to fill the hole left by Ibra, the person who has impressed him within the blue and gold all his life.

Ibrahimovic challenged the paradigm of Swedish soccer being a collective pursuit and opened the door for extra particular person aptitude to go together with the standard self-discipline and robust work ethic for which the Scandinavians are well-known.

The teachings discovered in qualifying and the Nations League campaigns that adopted Ibrahimovic’s retirement from the nationwide facet in 2016 have put Andersson’s crew among the many darkish horses with a powerful likelihood at Euro 2020.

Although they usually line up in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, Sweden are able to altering the best way they play relying on the opposition, although they’re at all times anchored within the 58-year-old’s Andersson’s tried and trusted rules.

“I normally discuss ‘combine soccer’, to have the ability to play in several methods, that’s one precept. Having width on the pitch is one other, however who gives the width can change too,” he has stated.

“In defence, we need to be compact and after we’re compact we’re arduous to interrupt down, and that might be a vital factor within the Euros.”

These rules are linked to Andersson’s innate pragmatism, however that doesn’t imply the Swedes received’t dream.

“The purpose is to get out of the group – if we get out of the group, we need to win the following sport. I normally don’t go additional than that, however should you do the precise issues on the street you get a end result you deserve,” Andersson added.

Runners-up on the 1958 World Cup and third in 1994, Sweden got here third once they hosted the Euros received by neighbours Denmark in 1992 however did not get previous the group stage in 2008, 2012 and 2016 – a destiny they are going to be determined to keep away from this time.

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Enhancing by Ken Ferris)



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