• Sweden edition
 

Zlatan Sweden's weapon against the English

Published: 14 Jun 2012 14:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Jun 2012 14:54 GMT+02:00

Having lost to Ukraine in their opening Euro 2012 match, Sweden have a do-or-die Group D encounter with England on Friday - just the sort of scenario which ought to be meat and drink to the Scandinavians' top striker.

Yet the Swedes are in a bind as exactly how to use Zlatan Ibrahimovic, be it as a lone striker at the apex of their system or as more of a playmaker, a role he played to near perfection in a friendly win over Croatia last February.

But the question is - in which role is the 30-year-old more effective?

Certainly, 28 league goals for AC Milan last season - the best league haul of his career - showed all the qualities of a fox in the box, as did his goal for the Swedes in their loss in Kiev.

Yet his superb technique and ability to conjure something from nothing appears more in keeping with the role of a traditional number 10.

The problem is that in Kiev "Ibra" slipped effortlessly into the number nine role - as well as scoring he was involved in most of his side's chances, hitting the post and coming close with a meaty drive.

He did his best to turn provider late on with a fine lobbed pass to Johan Elmander, who could not finish the move off with an equaliser.

But for all his efforts at the head of the attack the Swedes could have done with a little bit more creativity just off the main striker.

For coach Erik Hamrén the ideal scenario is to have Ibrahimovic playing off

Elmander in a 4-4-1-1.

A foot injury for Elmander coming in the last game of the season for Turkish champions Galatasaray meant the former Bolton and Toulouse forward missed much of the build-up to the tournament and was only able to feature for 20 minutes in Monday's defeat.

That hit the Swedes with Marcus Rosenberg struggling to show his form before going off as Elmander replaced him.

Midfielder Kim Källström told French media after the Ukraine game that "the absence of Elmander is a problem, yes." But the Lyon man then added:

"Or not. Rosenberg played very well," he insisted.

Either way it seems a given that Elmander, who had three seasons with Bolton in the English Premier League, will start on Friday.

"I would like to play against the English. They relish the fight - that's what makes up the English game," he told reporters Tuesday.

The Swedes are not lacking in muscularity either, however. Elmander stands tall at at 1m88 with Ibrahimovic even taller at 1.94m.

After the championships Sweden expect their attacking agenda to change in that they hope to partner Ibrahimovic with 20-year-old John Guidetti, the country's new star in the making and whom the former has dubbed the future.

The striker, registered with Manchester City, is viewed as the natural successor to Ibrahimovic but has not played for his Dutch club Feyenoord since April 14 because of a nervous affliction that sees him lose all feeling in his right leg from time to time.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:57 June 14, 2012 by dizzy09
arrogant overrated big match disappearing club player.
18:38 June 14, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
Sadly, I think Sweden probably will win tomorrow's game - this particular England side is inexperienced, and lacking Rooney up front.

The Swedes have enjoyed great success against England in competitive competitions - they play an extremely tough physical game and England tend to under-rate them in matches
19:05 June 14, 2012 by Tamm O'Shanter
Me too - I think Sweden will win (unfortunately because they have absolutely zilch to offer world football)

Heres my prediction: a single goal by the Swede team who then pack their defence frustrating any further attempts at meaningful play (just like they always do!!)

Pity - but maybe the French will beat Sweden and send them packing to sh1tty Scandinavia where they can play some ice hockey or bandy

Lol!

Supporting Ireland tonight!!
19:53 June 14, 2012 by Greysuede
I'd bike naked out of joy if Zlatan and the team will beat arrogant english bastards !
20:25 June 14, 2012 by alecLoTh
Go Zlatan, but hopefully the time raise the bar and not only win this game, but the group too - that's something more inspirational.
20:55 June 14, 2012 by Erefus
I'm not really interest in soccer, but I never really got the deal with all these zlatophiles. Swedish media talks about Zlatan more than the sport itself.
22:00 June 14, 2012 by theibmsstate
sweden will not win no match for sure.germany will win.
22:36 June 14, 2012 by Erefus
I did a search on Zlatan here on The Local, and the amount of results I got was just rediculous. It's like a biography where you can follow every career move he has ever done, including such "interesting" news as "Zlatan launches 'first ever' iPad autobiography". Are people really that obsessed by him?
00:12 June 15, 2012 by J Jack
Zlatan was for me Barcelona, but they still showed they didn't need him. Someone once told me, all Swedish girls go back to Sweden. But that's not true either. I respect him for stepping out into the world of the Dutch, the Spanish & the Italians. Most of you commenteers wouldn't know a relocation if it shat on you. It's tough being a rock star! All I'm saying is he stepped up the game and that's why Sweden has the benefit.
00:19 June 15, 2012 by jostein
Rather the multiculturalist weapon against the swedes?
03:28 June 15, 2012 by teo.ostlund
@Erefus Perhaps you should learn something about the national sport in the country you obviously live in you ignorant American. Seriously. I hope you're trolling.
03:55 June 15, 2012 by Erefus
@teo.ostlund I'm american? That's odd, because I'm fairly sure I'm swedish. But I guess you would know better, since I'm "ignorant". Either way I don't understand what your point is. It doesn't matter if you read The Local, Aftonbladet, Expressen, SvD, DN, SR, SvT, Sydsvenskan etc, they all obsess about whatever Zlatan does. Mupp.
06:34 June 15, 2012 by theibmsstate
sweden will win 0 match, if sweden will win one match it doesn't matter. english players are hard and they will win.
07:15 June 15, 2012 by StockholmSam
"Zlatan is the key weapon in the upcoming game against (insert any team name here) !"

What a ridiculous article. Zlatan is ALWAYS the key weapon...because he is the ONLY weapon Sweden has. And not a terribly effective weapon, at that.
09:13 June 15, 2012 by foxxychick1978
come on England come on England im sorry but in football i will after support my native team :D although deep down i think Sweden will win
11:02 June 15, 2012 by CJ from Sunshine Desserts
Only a matter of time before Ibra gets a red card......
12:37 June 15, 2012 by euro_tix
Tickets to give:

4x SWEDEN - FRANCE (Kyiv), block 31

4x Quaterfinal in Kyiv, block 27, and

4x SEMIFINAL in Donetsk, block 325

1st category, face values!, collection Warsaw or shipping (auction?).

Check my FB profile (facebook.com/euro.ticketss) or:

euro.poland1 (at) gmail.com

skype: mariusz.ang
13:41 June 15, 2012 by ltch65
Its gonna be a tight game for a sure, but England wil be the victors, apart from a jumped up Zlatan Sweden doesnt have much to offer...sorry....

Prediction Sweden 1 - England 2....
00:45 June 16, 2012 by theibmsstate
wowowo england won.
23:01 June 16, 2012 by DAVID T
Zlatan has never scored against England or an English team - If he was any good he would play in England but he's though of as a useless donkey by the English.

Zlatan = Cock
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