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Thursday 8 December 2016

Italy win is Swedes' aim

Sweden’s Albin Ekdal applauds the Swedish fans. Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Sweden’s Albin Ekdal applauds the Swedish fans. Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Sweden are still very much in contention for Euro 2016, but they now need to go on and beat Italy in their next game at the weekend, according to midfielder Albin Ekdal.

What the Swedes had hoped would be a winning start to Euro 2016 saw them take only a point to bring on the road against an Italy side who more than showed against Belgium last night that they are capable of scoring a goal.

A point is of course a lot better than none and the Swedes are today, like Ireland, wondering why there was such a dip from one half to another.

But the fact that they are still in contention is a bonus for the men in yellow.

"In tournament football, the main thing is to not lose your first game, after that you have a chance and maybe one point is good for us," said Sweden's Ekdal.

"If we win against Italy we can be a lot higher up in the group than we are now and have a much better chance of making the next round, so we move on to the next match, it's a fast change and at a tournament like this, the Euros, you don't really get time.

"So we will pack up and move on, now we head for Toulouse to play the Italians on Friday, we will assess their game against Belgium last night and look back at our game too," he added.

"I know Ireland will not think that a draw was a fair result, they had played well and had a lead, but a draw is - to me - a fair outcome for both teams. I understand why the Irish players will say this was two points dropped, they had more clear-cut chances than we did.

"But we played a lot better in the second half, we created some really good chances in that time and we have to be happy with our second half, less so when we look back at the first half."

Sweden will have to assess the fitness of Celtic defender Mikael Lustig after he was forced off in the first half last night in Paris.

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