AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has revealed that he will continue playing for the Sweden national team, despite approaching the end of his career. The 30-year-old striker is entering into the final few years of his career. He has been one of the national icons for the Swedish football, but there have been rumours that the AC Milan striker could hang up the international boots following the Euro 2012 exit for Sweden in the group stages. Due to the form of the AC Milan striker, many expected Sweden to get past the group stages.
However, they suffered defeats in a number of the matches to be eliminated in the group stages itself. Following the exit of the nation, it has been rumoured that the 30-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be hanging up his international boots, but the AC Milan striker rejected such speculation by saying that he intends to carry on playing for the national team as long as possible. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has become a surprise transfer target for French club PSG. The Swedish striker joined AC Milan only a few seasons ago, but has helped them win the league title after many seasons without one. It is thought that former AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti is keen to bring him to the French capital.
“I’ll continue with the national team, absolutely. I’m still motivated and I want a lot more. This doesn’t mean anything in my mind. It just makes me more motivated. I want to get better than I am, and I want to continue to develop. Physically and mentally I’ve felt really good. But what good is that when you don’t win? I’d rather win and not play well than to play well and not win,” said Ibrahimovic after the exit of Sweden from the Euro 2012.
Sweden again demonstrated their seeming inability to defend headers at set pieces in their defeat to co hosts Ukraine in their Euro 2012 opener. Despite this problem head coach Erik Hamren is not overly worried by the issue.
Sweden took the lead in their opener only to fall foul to two headers from Ukrainian hero Andriy Shevchenko. Shevchenko’s brace means that the Swedes have now conceded five headed goals in their last three games. With England, who are fast becoming set piece specialists next on the cards the Swedes will have to improve quickly or face falling foul to the likes of John Terry, Wayne Rooney and Andy Carroll, all specialists in the air.
Hamren, though was eager to focus on praising Shevchenko’s instinctive finishing rather than criticising his sides defending. “He was really good in the box, two really good goals. That made the result. Good for him, bad for us.” Whilst this is a gracious way to take defeat it will not be of much help to the Swedes in their upcoming fixtures against France and England. If they are to qualify they will have to turn their form around and one would imagine would have to take something from both of their remaining games, starting with Friday’s clash with Steven Gerrard‘s England.
Hamren insisted that his side would not get “hung up” on their defensive frailties, having conceded from three headers in their recent games against Iceland and Serbia coming into this tournament. Prior to the Ukraine game they insisted they would worry about the defensive problems “the day we lose”. Well, having now lost to Ukraine it may well be time for the Swedes to start to worry and to do something about their aerial problems, and soon. Their task will be hard enough against both England and France and they do not want to be gifting either side easy chances in the air.
Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said that he is extremely confident about his team’s chances at the Euro 2012. Sweden were one of the big names to miss out on the opportunity to play at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. As a result, there was a lot of wholesale changes needed in the country. AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said that manager Erik Hamren has certainly provided that. Sweden are no longer a defensive team that plays on the counter-attack, but they are one of the better sides to watch at the Euro 2012. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has said that he hopes the attack minded approach pays off at the Euro 2012.
Sweden are in the group containing favourites England and France, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes that Sweden can be the dark horse of the top moment by upsetting both the neighbouring countries. Sweden will be playing friendlies against Iceland and Serbia before they head off into the tournament. One of the major weaknesses Sweden has to come out in the form of defending. Due to their attack minded approach in recent matches, they have left themselves open at the back. However, with strikers like Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the disposal, they can certainly afford to do the same.
“No question I was disillusioned on the back of missing out on the 2010 World Cup. I think we needed a fresh approach and Erik provided it. He has brought along a new style of play, he has instilled a new belief in us and he found a role for me in the side around which the other players are able to excel. Certainly he has been able to launch a new beginning for the Swedish team and on the back of our performances of late, we are very excited about our chances going into the Euros,” Ibrahimovic told the Swedish media.
Sweden national team manager Erik Hamren has said that he is looking forward to causing upset at the Euro 2012 by qualifying to the quarter-final stage of the competition ahead of the favourites like France and England. Sweden have been included in the squad that comprises of France, England, and hosts Ukraine. Many regard France and England to be the front-runners to qualify for the next stage, but Erik Hamren has said that he wants to spoil the party by throwing a surprise. Erik Hamren certainly has the weaponry in order to score the goals in the form of AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has already scored more than 30 goals this season.
Erik Hamren has been appointed in place of Lars Lagerback following the country’s failure to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Hamren has more than achieved his job by qualifying for the Euro 2012, but he knows that there is still a lot of work to do. Sweden created a major upset by beating Netherlands in the final qualifying game to make it into the Euro 2012’s group stages. Hamren reckons that the team can very well cause an upset once more at the tournament itself.
“If you have to be realistic England and France should progress from this group, but why the hell do you have to be realistic? Especially in the first match the host nation is usually tough to beat. Sporting-wise the sides are very even but now they have an entire nation behind them. It will be a difficult but very exciting match. If we had been realistic we wouldn’t have beaten Netherlands in the final game of qualifying to progress to the finals either,” Hamren said ahead of the friendly with Iceland after which they will be entering into the tournament.