Sweden without star Ibrahimovic for Brazil friendly

Sweden without star Ibrahimovic for Brazil friendly
A lingering knee injury will leave Sweden without its star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the squad meets Brazil for a football friendly in London on Wednesday, the Swedish Football Association said.

“We agreed that he’s better off taking the time for rehab and resting his knee. He’s played on painkillers for several matches now,” coach Lars Lagerbäck said in a statement.

Ibrahimovic, who plays for Inter Milan, was diagnosed with a knee tendon injury in February.

The Swedish side will also be without Wigan Athletic’s defender Erik Edman, who suffered a nasty knee injury in a Premier League match against Blackburn on Saturday.

The Swedish FA said Edman tore the ligaments in his left knee and is expected to be out of action for around six months.

Sunderland striker Rade Prica will replace Ibrahimovic and Mikael Dorsin will replace Edman, the FA said.

The Brazil clash at Emirates Stadium is part of Sweden’s Euro 2008 preparations, and is the last match before Lagerbäck announces his selection on May 13th.

“We’ll be playing against one of the best teams in the world. It’ll be a good test for us to play a team that in terms of offence and passing is as good as Spain, who we’ll be playing against in the European championships,” Lagerbäck said.

The Sweden-Brazil face-off also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1958 World Cup final between the two teams, one of Sweden’s most illustrious showings in the sport despite its 5-2 loss.

Lagerbäck will be coaching a largely experienced side, apart from two players who have made their debuts this year, Sebastian Larsson and Fredrik Stoor.

Fredrik Risp, who last played for the national squad in 2005, will also make his comeback after struggling through injuries for several seasons.

Others on Wednesday’s roster include goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson, defenders Olof Mellberg and Mikael Nilsson, and midfielders Kim Källström, Marcus Allbäck, Christian Wilhelmsson and Fredrik Ljungberg.