Sweden defender Jonas Olsson has warned his team-mates to wise up before next month’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Ireland after conceding three first-half goals in a 3-2 home loss to Argentina.
“We cannot be so naive and attack with so many people,” said Olsson. “If we push so many players up going forward, we are left playing one on one at the back. It’s not easy, we need to take more responsibility.”
Fellow defender Mikael Lustig breathed a sigh of relief after scoring an own goal that set the visitors on their way to victory. “At least we don’t have to face them in qualifying,” he said.
After Olsson headed Sweden level, Argentina scored through Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain before Rasmus Elm pulled one back for the hosts.
“Individually they have very skilled players and you can see how fast they are when they have the ball,” said Sweden coach Erik Hamren. “They have qualities that we do not really have, in some moments or positions. They are incredibly fast there.
“We were up against a very good team, so we should not be too upset, but in my eyes there was a crystal clear offside before the second goal, which made it tough for us once we had got level again.”
Expressen columnist Daniel Kristofferson claimed the defeat would be good for Sweden, as a draw or better would have papered over the obvious cracks at the back. “Had we not lost, I fear the Swedish self-confidence could have punished us against Ireland,” he wrote. “I actually think it’s a good thing Sweden was brought down to earth by some of the world’s best players.”
After all, confidence was high given Sweden’s recent results: a 4-2 win over England and an astonishing 4-4 draw with Germany, after the team was 4-0 down. “We know where we are in the pecking-order again,” wrote Kristofferson. “We saw the gaps in the defence that need to be corrected. We are vulnerable to rapid breaks and technically proficient teams can punish us with fast movement behind the back-line.”
There were other positives for Sweden; both goals came from set-pieces while Alexander Kacaniklic was a constant threat.
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