• Euro 2012

Sweden diffuse talk of camp unrest

ESPN staff
June 13, 2012
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was left frustrated by Sweden's capitulation © PA Photos

Sweden have dismissed suggestions the team is in disarray following their defeat against Ukraine.

Despite taking the lead against the co-hosts through Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden fell to a 2-1 defeat in their opening match and there have been reports of infighting in the camp ahead of Friday's meeting with England.

Coach Eric Hamren criticised the players after the game, saying: "It just was not at the level we wanted. We were cowards in the first half. We should have done more."

Ibrahimovic was critical of his team-mates after the final whistle. "We shouldn't have lost," the striker said. "We had good chances to score goals. We were winning 1-0, then we allowed them to score twice, which just can't happen, but we have two games left to do better. We just have to focus.

"Two great matches lie ahead of us against two great teams, and we will do much better. We must learn not to throw away a lead in the manner we did and to be a bit more daring."

Reports claimed Ibrahimovic was angry that the Sweden players had waved to their wives and girlfriends when they should have been warming down after the game, but team manager Lars Richt played them down. "Zlatan said that it was time to cool down because we had all agreed to do so," he said.

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports that the spark for Ibrahimovic's anger had actually been a post-match discussion with Sweden assistant coach Marcus Allback, though Richt said that there was no rift between the pair.

"Their relationship is completely normal," he said. "We lost the game, and it is clear that we were angry and disappointed about it, but you can see that the mood has changed now. We look forward to the England match."

Johan Elmander, who is expected to start against England, said criticism from Ibrahimovic would not have a negative impact. "It's up to him to say whatever he wants to say," he added. "It doesn't affect the group at all."

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