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Sweden faces Denmark in Euro 2016 qualifier

Published fredag 13 november 2015 kl 16.40
Zlatan: "I would love to play the European in France."
(0:55 min)
File photo: Janerik Henriksson / TT
Zlatan Ibrahimovic with his teammates during a match between Sweden and Moldova. File photo: Janerik Henriksson / TT

The refugee crisis has put the focus on Sweden and Denmark and the bridge that divides these two Scandinavian neighbours. But on Saturday, for 90 minutes at least, it is all about football and the renewal of hostilities on the pitch as the 2016 European championships play-off, one of four first leg matches taking place at the weekend, kicks off at Friends Arena in Stockholm.

Sweden's captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a troublesome cough during Thursday's press conference and when coach Erik Hamrén faced the media on Friday, he was asked about the state of his captain's health.

"A full clean bill of health, no injuries or colds, so far. We've had a good day together, everyone is focused on the job in hand and we have a strong belief that we can put in a good performace," Hamrén told reporters.

It is Denmark's coach Morten Olsen's last chance to guide a team to a major tournament and it will be Erik Hamrén's as well if Sweden lose their first ever Euro play-off. But Sweden's coach, who won the Danish super league in his last season at Aalborg, was confident of going through to France next summer, despite playing the second leg in Parken, Copenhagen on Tuesday.

"We've had more time to do good things both on and off the pitch with the extra days together, which I hope will be shown in the result. We've even had individual talks with the players that we don't usually get. Now we are ready for the game."

Denmark were shock Euro winners in 1992 after replacing Yugoslavia at the last minute, but like Sweden, struggled in qualifying, finishing third in their group. The two countries had identical records in qualifying but head to head, in recent years, it is the Danes who come out on top.

Not that it bothers Zlatan, who in the week was named Sweden's Footballer of the Year for a record tenth time, and who scored eight goals in qualifying, though he has struggled with the neighbours from across the bridge from his home town Malmö. The 34-year-old PSG striker said that he intends to be there in France next summer.

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