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Ibrahimovic set to miss France friendly

Paul O'Mahony · 20 Aug 2008, 08:25

Published: 20 Aug 2008 08:25 GMT+02:00

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Ibrahimovic has been suffering from a condition known as "high-jumper's knee" - prevalent among athletes and basketball players - and was a big doubt for Wednesday's match.

Earlier on Tuesday, Swedish football federation spokesman Thomas Saleteg said that the 26-year-old may play a small part in the match.

"He feels stronger and stronger. He had a knee injury. But he's recovering very well and has played 90 minutes with Inter. So he looks good and is confident for the season," said Saleteg.

However, team coach Lars Lagerbäck later indicated that he would not take the chance on the Inter Milan star.

Ibrahimovic appeared twice during the Euro championships in Austria and Switzerland in June, scoring on both occasions.

Sweden will be without Freddie Ljungberg, who retired in June, but the side are to be captained by the talismanic former Barcelona star Henrik Larsson.

"We have Henrik Larsson as captain tomorrow and I hope we can do quite well," Saletag said of the striker who now plays for Swedish team Helsingborg.

"Henrik Larsson is still a great player. He is probably the best player in the Swedish league. He is a very strong player."

Saletag added: "We all expect a very good match, an open game but of course France are a world-class nation. We are strong at home. I think it will be a very tight game."

Barcelona's Thierry Henry has been named captain of the France team for the match, French coach Raymond Domenech announced Tuesday.

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"As he (Henry) is here, and Pat (Patrick Viera, injured) isn't, Thierry has all the qualities and skills to be captain, but in the future that remains to be seen," said Domenech.

Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri, called in as a replacement for Marseille's Hatem Ben Arfa, was ruled out of the friendly because of a thigh injury.

The 21-year-old arrived for training at the French camp on Monday but only did laps of the pitch with team physiotherapists. He will not be replaced for Wednesday's game.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.com)

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