Friday 15 December 2017

It's not all sweet for the Swedes

Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency via AP
Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency via AP

It's not all sweetness and light for the Swedes as they box off the first part of their Euro 2016 preparations and look ahead to what could be a summer of gloom.

While Ireland's manager, players and supporters can be reasonably, though not ecstatically, happy with the outcome of the two friendly games over the last week, there's something of a cloud hanging over the Sweden camp.

A 2-1 loss away to Turkey last week was followed up by a 1-1 draw at home to the Czech Republic, with captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic back for the Czech game, having missed the Turkey trip, supposedly to attend a wedding.

Sweden's fans appear less than enthused with only 18,000 paying in to see that draw with the Czechs while Ireland (somehow) got in a crowd of 30,000 for the draw with Slovakia.

Leaving out their two January friendly games (when Sweden picked only home-based players), Erik Hamren's side have drawn two and lost one of their last three games, Hamren admitting that things need to pick up.

"Anyone involved in football knows that it is not always champagne. Sometimes you just have beer. Tuesday was a little more in that direction," he said after the draw with the Czechs.

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