herald

Sunday 22 July 2018

Sweden captain ready for quick dash home

ON RED ALERT: Andreas Granqvist’s wife is expecting. Pic: Reuters
ON RED ALERT: Andreas Granqvist’s wife is expecting. Pic: Reuters

Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist says he will play against England, but could fly home before the clash to attend the birth of his child.

The defender's wife Sofia is due to give birth, which had left him a doubt for tomorrow's World Cup quarter-final.

But the former Wigan player is adamant he will play in the game, even if he has to fly home first.

"I'm planning to stay," Granqvist said. "My wife is a very strong person and we knew the situation before I came here. Nothing has happened so far.

"If I have the position to fly home quickly then I may do that. But, whatever happens, I do not miss the quarter-final."

England midfielder Fabian Delph missed his side's dramatic win over Colombia to be at the birth of his third child, but has since travelled back to Russia.

Sweden beat Switzerland 1-0 on Monday, a day before England progressed 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.

And Granqvist believes Sweden could have the edge in the last-eight game because of their team spirit.

"Harry Kane is fantastic," he said. "They play more offensively now than they did before, with skilful players like (Raheem) Sterling.

"We lost a lot of big names, we had to start from the beginning and play with 23 players, not one or two.

Fight

"We've worked really hard and we've shown that we really work for each other, we fight for each other and we do it as a collective."

Sweden have flown under the radar all the way to the quarter-finals where they aim to use their solidity as a unit to put a stop to English dreams of a first World Cup victory since 1966.

Granqvist said his team have no secrets ahead of the clash with England.

"They have seen that we are a very strong team, we play together as a collective, we defend as a team with the whole team, we attack as a team. We're really solid, we don't let the opponent get so many chances," Granqvist told reporters.

"We know we are good on the set pieces, we know we have good counter-attack football. They have seen our game, they have seen our group stage and how we play and I think they have big respect for us."

The 33-year-old centre back, who has already scored twice from the penalty spot in Russia, does not expect much of a change from the defensive tactics his side have used to get this far.

"I think we have to look at our squad and we have to look at the opponent's squad. Normally the other team has better players on paper and we let them have the ball in the places we want them to have the ball," he explained.

Sweden midfielder Albin Ekdal had a scan on a twisted ankle on Wednesday and Mikael Lustig is suspended for the tie against England but changes in personnel are likely to have little effect on the Swedish game plan.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News