The striker dominated post-match talk, but the manager preferred to focus on the players who sealed Sweden’s World Cup berth
“Gosh, we need to talk about the great players we have in this team I believe.” – Andersson
A baffled Janne Andersson dismissed talk of former captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming out of retirement to re-join Sweden after the country qualified for the 2018 World Cup at the expense of Italy.
Sweden produced a gritty defensive effort to hold four-time world champions Italy to a goalless draw in Milan on Monday — securing a 1-0 aggregate victory.
It was a win that defied the odds and condemned Italy to miss the WorldCup for the first time since 1958, but talk quickly turned to the possible return of Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer Ibrahimovic, who walked away from international football following Euro 2016.
The 36-year-old Manchester United striker — who has not played since April due to a knee ligament injury — dominated the post-match news conference, but Sweden head coach Andersson preferred to focus on the group of players who sealed the country’s passage to Russia next year.
“This is incredible! This player [Ibrahimovic] has just stopped to play with Sweden one year and a half ago and we are still here talking about him,” Andersson told reporters post-match.
“Gosh, we need to talk about the great players we have in this team I believe.”
On the match itself at SanSiro, Andersson added: “What I wanted to say was that this was the demonstration that our collective acted like this during the whole length of the play-offs.
“We have many heroes tonight. I am a bit moved but obviously very happy with the result.”
“When Ibrahimovic was here with us we played a different style of football,” he continued. “Considering that he has decided to leave international football, he is a great champion, but we had to adapt and found another style.”
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