Zlatan backs out of two matches

Sweden will be without their star striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, for their Euro 2008 championships qualifying matches against Iceland and group favorites Spain, the Swedish football association said on Friday.

The 24-year-old Inter Milan forward informed Swedish coach Lars Lagerbaeck by telephone that he would be unavailable for selection for the two Euro 2008 matches.

“It is of course unfortunate that we will be without the services of such a good player for the upcoming Euro qualifiers,” Lagerbaeck said in a statement published on the Swedish FA’s website.

No reason was given for Ibrahimovic’s decision. Sweden are to face Spain on October 7 at home and Iceland on October 11 in Reykjavik.