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lunes, 5 de mayo de 2008

EURO 2008: SWEDEN (This article is available in English and Español)

The national team from Sweden is another team of the group D. This team would can fight under normal conditions to play the 4th the finals of the tournament, because it would can win Greece and Russia and even it would can fight with Spain for the first place of the group (In fact Sweden defeated Spain in a qualifying´s game for this EURO 08 played in the Rasunda Fotbollstadion of Stockholm). However we do not believe that the team of Lars Lagerbäck can arrive far away in this tournament, because it will start the championship with many questions and unknown factors about some key players- if these players will play the EURO or if they will arrive to the tournament correctly-.

On one side, the performance of the goalkeeper is a mystery, because the best Swedish goalkeeper, the promising Manchester City´s goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson, has not played with his club-he has played only 4 Premier league´s games and his last game was last 26 of March(45 minutes of the friendly match between Sweden and Brazil). However this Isaksson´s painful season, we assume that Lagerbäck will trust him, specially because the other alternatives goalkeeper are not very reliable-John Alvbage is young and without international experience and Rami Shaaban,who is a football´s globetrotter football and even he played some game with Arsenal, does not present any kind of guarantees-. So Largerbäck will have only one real option, to choice Isaksson, whose performance is obviously unknown. But this is not the only Lagerbäck´s problem in the defensive zone of the team, because he will have a significant absence, the left back Erik Edman (good and experimental Wigan Athletic´s left back, who suffers an important injury).So, it will be an important problem, since, as in the case of Isaksson, Edman does not have a good substitute, because both Mikael Dorin-CFR Cluj´s left back- and Oscar Wendt -FC Kopenhagen´s young lef back- do not have the enough experience and quality in order to play as Edman´s level and this position can be the hole of a good defence, since we can find in the Swedish squad players as the experienced and hard central defenders Petter Hansson -Stade Rennes´s player-, Daniel Majstorovic –Basel´s central defender- and especially Olof Mellberg-he is a very good central defender and he will arrive this summer to Juventus Turin- and as the right back of the team, Mikael Nilsson.

But besides Edman´s absence, Langerbäck will have more headaches in order to have a good squad, since he will have problems with the midfielders.On the one hand, we'll see if the Galatasary´s defensive midfielder, Tobias Linderoth, will arrive to play the EURO, because he is suffering and important injury and he will not be recovered until May-June. So it is hesitant the presence and the level of this important player in the Langercäck´s scheme, since he is the player who balances the Swedish midfield, as he is the only one who has as his principal mission the destruction of the rival game( he does this function perfectly, since he has a big experience with more than 70 games with the Swedish National Team).But this may not be the only setback in the midfield for the coach, since it is doubtful the presence of a classic of the football´s world, Fredrik Ljungberg, who even though is not playing as some years ago, he is an important player for the team, because he has a big experience and he is the moral leader of the team, which is composed by good midfielders as the experimental and technical players
Anders Svensson-former FC Southampton´s player- the elegant Kim Kallstrom- he is a good player, although he is not playing at Olympique Lyon with the expected level after his excellent seasons in the Stade Rennes-or players such as the veteran right midfielder Niclas Alexandersson (105 games played with the Swedish National team) and the technical Christian Wilhelmsson (one of the keys to understand the formidable Deportivo de La Coruña´s second half of the season) or the young Sebastian Larsson-Birmingham City´s player-, who has a lot of options to be in the squad, after a good game against Brazil. All the midfielders have the mission to provide good balls to the good Swedish strikers, as the brilliant Zlatan Ibrahimovic- he is a marvellous player, pure talent, a lot of technical quality and vision of the game and he also has a good scorer smell (15 goals in 25 league´s games this season with Inter Milan), so he is the key player of the team and his performance and behaviour (sometimes he loses the nerves) may depend the Swedish future in this tournament. In addition Zlatan will be helped by good strikers like FC Toulouse´s striker Johan Elmander (perhaps it would be a good news for him if he signs for a stronger club) or Werder Bremen's Markus Rosenberg -both are strong strikers and beside they have a big mobility, so the rival defences have many difficulties to stop these players-,or veteran centre-striker Marcus Allbäck, who is a soccer´s globetrotter (he has played in Italy, Sweden, Denmark, England, Holland and Germany) and he has announced that this EURO will be his last tournament with the Swedish Nation team.

To sum up, Sweden has a good team if it can rely on with all the players, but we see many uncertain things in order to bet for this team and we do not think that it can play the 4th the final of the competition.
Cheers,
J&F
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