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Zlatan returns for Finland qualifier

AFP/The Local · 7 Jun 2011, 08:07

Published: 07 Jun 2011 08:07 GMT+02:00

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"Everyone trained normally and everyone is ready to play," the TT news agency quoted Hamren as saying following a training session, though it was not clear if the veteran forward would start.

Later on Tuesday, assistant coat Marcus Allbäck confirmed that Ibrahimovic would indeed suit up for Sweden, but that he would not be in the starting line up.

AC Milan's "Ibra," fresh from winning the Serie A title, remained in Sweden with ankle trouble while his compatriots swept the Moldovans aside.

The Swedes have a huge challenge on in Group E to knock Holland off top spot with the Dutch currently six points clear after a perfect start - though the Swedes have a match in hand.

Sweden claimed three points in Moldova on Friday, winning 4-1 in Chisinau.

The win against the footballing minnows was achieved with goals by Ola Toivonen, Johan Elmander (2) and Alexander Gerndt.

Elmander, who recently signed for Turkish club Galatasary, is hopeful of retaining his place in the centre of Sweden's attack but is likely to give way to a pairing of Ibrahimovic and Toivonen.

Story continues below…

Despite the win, Sweden are struggling to catch the Dutch, who have a perfect record after six matches.

Although the Swedes have a match in hand they have six points to make up and have their sights set on grabbing the best runner-up spot.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:36 June 7, 2011 by Infart
It's past time that they hand his role over to Toivonen. Him and Marcus Berg are the future of this team. Maybe bring Zlatan in off the bench late in the match.
11:16 June 7, 2011 by truthworthy
..and the xenophobes wouldn't even consider him SWEDE.
11:31 June 7, 2011 by Jes

It is so sad to see a whole national team reduced to one mans story .

Where are the other players and what do they think when all that is talked about is this one guy ?
12:10 June 7, 2011 by eppie

Yeah sad indeed. But he is the only real star in this swedish team both because of skills, but of course also in terms of image.

The Dutch have players of his skills sitting on the bench, but none of them have the international fame of Zlatan and that is why he is the guy the media talks about.

@infart Zlatans contribution to the national team hasn't always been great, but Toivonen and Berg are not really the material you can build a good future on. Probably sweden will do that but will have difficulties getting to ECs and WCs.
13:11 June 7, 2011 by Beavis
Sweden were great via Moldova mainly due to Zlatan missing, they played as a team and got a good result. As soon as he comes back they will start hoofing the ball to Zlatan so he can miss from 20cm out (like he has in his last 7 international matches) I think its good news that he is in the Swedish team as Im really hoping for a Finnish win tonight.Get te ball to Zlatan so he can miss just doesnt work and hasnt worked
13:24 June 7, 2011 by Jes

if football was a fashion show , there would be nothing wrong about talking about the mans " image" .

This is football - a team sport . Sweden has always been known for having a TEAM of egoless players . Sweden would not have won a bronze in the Worl cup if the only player in the news was Thomas Brolin , though I think he was a better skilled player than Zlatan

If you want to talk about the Dutch team , you must remember that this is a team that reached the semifinals in South Africa while Zlatan watched it on TV . So much for international fame !

You probably don`t notice your own contridition when you remark that the "silled star`s " contribution to the national team hasn`t always been great .
14:44 June 7, 2011 by eppie

I don't think you really understood my post. So sorry for being a bit unclear and I will explain things better.

1: Holland reached the finals in south africa

2: I don't say I like it, but football is about image. Teams buy Zlatan because apart from his football skills, he sells T-shirts. Some of the teams that are popular in asia (barcelona, real madrid, man united, liverpool, AC milan) can afford buying players like Zlatan for a much too big sum of money, because they know they can earn more with merchandise

3: When I say the dutch have players with his skills sitting on the bench that is a comment againsts Zlatan

4:When I say that Zlatans contribution hasn't always been great but that you can't build on Toivonen and Berg that is not a contradiction, it is a comment that tells you I think the latter two are not very good, and that I also don't think Zlatan is the messias.
15:26 June 7, 2011 by Jes
@eppie , I get you .

But you are still wrong on several counts . Teams buy players all the time .Chelsea is out to get one player whose slills are much bigger than his ego .

In Zlatan`s case , the last time a club paid a lotof money for him , they were soon to discover that he was a highly overrated player . Ac Milan did not have to pay for a player who was on the "drift " . Man City , did not think he is all that . Real was ready to take him on "REA" . I could say more . . .

The point is not whether Sweden can build on chaps like Toivonen or Berg , but on whether Sweden can expect better results by zooming all their attention to one player whose motivation is suspect .

Remember that Zlatan was the captain when Sweden failed to qualify for the WC .

Since Sweden does not have very skilled individuals , the better option is to build a TEAM . You don´t do with ONE player because he sells T shirts !
15:43 June 7, 2011 by eppie

Indeed, but I don't think the author of this article on the local decides what Hamren does. I don't think Hamren wants to focus all the efforts on Zlatan.

What he does want is include Zlatan in the team; a thing that I can agree with. Media and the coach are two different things.

I agree with you about Zlatans suspected motivational issues, BUT I get my information from sports journalists, who are not known for being good in distinguisking fact from fiction.

Point is that with or without Zlatan, Sweden is not a title contender, and I can't blame the coach for putting Zlatan in the starting line up because he is way better than the rest of the team.
22:42 June 7, 2011 by Rolle
Hat trick, gentleman. Say what you want about Zlatan, but he scored 3
07:19 June 8, 2011 by Rick Methven
From the impartial BBC

"Zlatan Ibrahimovic came off the bench to score a hat-trick as Sweden thrashed Finland 5-0 to move within three points of Netherlands at the top of Group E.

The AC Milan striker, still nursing the ankle knock that caused him to miss Friday's 4-1 victory away to Moldova, was brought on after 25 minutes with Sweden already ahead through Kim Kallstrom's free-kick.

Ibrahimovic made it 2-0 six minutes later when he swivelled to fire home first time from close range, netting his second before half-time and completing his treble after the break when he nodded home a free-kick.

Emir Bajrami completed the rout with a fifth goal seven minutes from time"

A nice reply to the loss to Finland in the Hockey
10:19 June 8, 2011 by Jes
There are 111 national teams that could have scored 5 goals against yesterday`s Finland .

5 players have scored hat-tricks in the last 12 days of International football .

Big deal !
10:35 June 8, 2011 by eppie

Indeed, finland was very very poor. But still, Zlatan did his share. After the first lucky goal from Sweden he was the one that helped sweden make the next 4.

As I said yesterday, this Swedish team is not ready to play without him. That said, even with Zlatan they wont stand a chance against the dutch.
12:24 June 8, 2011 by Jes
That is the problem @eppie !

Sweden SOHOULD BE READY to play without any player . In deed , Sweden played much better without Zlatan . Without him one could eazily notice that other players felf confident enough to take responsibilty and express themselves much much better . As sports psychologists would put it , a societies( nation`s) common ideology has a direct bearing on how its football teams form their philosophy . Swedish society believes shared contribution , distribution and responsibilities i.e the ideology of team work . To place one player well above the others is therefore "unswedish " . One may not talk about it openly , but it is evident that Zlatan`s prominence has undermined the self-confidence of a few other players . Time will tell whether this is good thing for the future of Swedish ntaional team . Believe it or not , you don´t prove much by just hammering Finland , Iceland and Nobodyland .

Anyway , I did not watch the match myself , but someone who did told me that the key player was one Kim , but as the habit is these days , everyone wanted to talk about Zlatan . I am told that Finland was already badly limping when Zlatan come in and capitalized on the many defensive mistakes that Finlands junior players were making .
22:11 June 8, 2011 by Infart
I thought Zlatan's header was pretty nice. But on the 2nd goal...that was made by Larsson. It was basically a tap-in by Zlatan. And did he give any credit to Larsson? Of course not. Just stood there with his arms in the air as if he'd just cured cancer.

Such a pompous ass.
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