Shot-shy Sweden hope to improve attack

Jun 21, 2016 - 4:10 AM Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois may wonder whether he even needs to turn up to face Sweden given his opponents' dismal attacking record at Euro 2016.

The Swedes have failed to muster a single shot on target in their first two games, a statistic made more embarrassing by the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their attack.

Their only goal was scored for them by Ireland's Ciaran Clark in a 1-1 draw, but they have singularly failed to exploit Ibrahimovic's presence and they are now in danger of a second successive group stage exit.

A draw at Nice's Allianz Riviera in the Group E match on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) would send Belgium to the last 16 alongside already-qualified Italy and almost certainly send the Swedes scuttling home.

A Swedish win would take them above Belgium and ensure second place providing Ireland did not beat Italy.

Forward Marcus Berg says the statistics are not a fair reflection of their performance.

"I understand that from outside it's black and white, but for us it's a little grey, too. But now it has become an issue," he said.

"It's up to the whole team to join in offensively. In the Ireland game we had some dangerous balls and if we get a toe on the ball there it's a goal."

One of Sweden's problems has been that Ibrahimovic has often dropped back into midfield so he's no longer available to receive the ball in attack.

Midfielder Kim Kallstrom's performances have suggested that, at 33, his role as a box-to-box midfielder is a little ambitious.

The Swiss-based player has performed his defensive duties well but has had little to offer in attack.

Winger Emil Forsberg has been largely anonymous in both games after Ireland and Italy closed him down completely.

Sweden are also searching for a suitable partner for Ibrahimovic after neither John Guidetti, who started alongside him against Italy, nor Berg, against Ireland, performed the role effectively.

Coach Erik Hamren acknowledged the problem, although he did not give any clues about changes.

"Of course, I would be happier if we had scored some goals but we do our best," he said.

"We need to be better in offence, of course, if we are going to win the game."

Source: AAP

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!