Zlatan hopes for England recovery

Sweden coach Lars Lagerbäck said he took off Juventus star Zlatan Ibrahimovic at half time in the 1-0 win over Paraguay as he was suffering with a groin injury.

“Zlatan said he had a leg injury. We didn’t want to risk anything because the medical staff said if he carried on he might not be able to come back during the World Cup, so we decided to take him off,” said Lagerbäck.

“I really don’t know how badly injured he is. We have to wait at least one or two days to see how serious it is,” he added, admitting to “a sort of feeling of relief” after the win.

Lagerbäck praised his squad for “a marvellous job” following the shock failure to beat Trinidad and Tobago and said he paid no attention to media speculation prior to the tournament on how well the team had to do for him to stay at the helm.

Ibrahimovic did not dwell on his injury discomfort, preferring to look at Sweden’s campaign, Thursday’s win not quite guaranteeing them a place in the last 16 – though a draw with England will suffice.

“We are taking it step by step and are not even thinking about the next round,” said the Juventus striker who hopes to shake off a groin injury in time for the England match.

“England are a good side but we will continue to play the same way we have done in the first two games.”