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Sweden coach Hamrén calls for players to show 'courage' in Danish capital

Published tisdag 17 november 2015 kl 10.01
Erik Hamrén needs a win against Denmark to keep him in his job. Phhoto: Anders Wiklund/TT
Erik Hamrén needs a win against Denmark to keep him in his job. Phhoto: Anders Wiklund/TT

After the Republic of Ireland became the 22nd team to book their place at Euro 2016, joining fellow play-off winners Hungary in the finals, tonight it's the turn of Sweden and Denmark to contest one of the final two spots for France next summer.

Sweden defend a slender 2-1 first-leg lead at a sold-out Parken in Copenhagen this evening after substitute Nicolai Jorgensen scored a crucial away goal with 10 minutes left at the first meeting in Stockholm to keep the Danes in the tie. The message from the Swedish camp was that they won't be setting out to defend their lead.

"It's the biggest match I have played in. We cannot go into the game and just defend," defender Erik Johansson tells news agency TT.

Responding to claims that the Swedes appeared to run out of steam in the last 20 minutes at Friends arena on Saturday, Johansson said that his teammates were fit and raring to go.

"The guys feel charged and nimble, it's not a concern."

Coach Erik Hamrén, who seems certain to lose his job if Sweden fail tonight, called for a repeat of Sweden's first half performance.

"I expect Denmark will try to play like they did during the last 25-30 minutes on Saturday. Let's see if we can manage to prevent them doing that. I'd prefer it if it goes like it did for the first hour or so.

"I want to see my players show courage, the same courage we showed after the first five to ten minutes last time. We've got a good feeling in the squad after Saturday and beating Denmark for the first time in a long while.

"If we think 0-0 will take us through then we'll have a hard time. Of course we've studied their penalty takers [just in case] and Kasper Schmeichel too. But our aim is for this not to end in a penalty shoot-out," he told UEFA.com.

Denmark's coach Morten Olsen was equally confident. He told UEFA.com: "I expect us to win and qualify. It will be tough, but no one ever said it would be easy. However, we have home advantage and we have the chance to decide matters on our own turf. I expect a close match."

Sweden's only injury doubt is left-back Martin Olsson. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored the second goal at Friends arena from the penalty spot, his ninth goal in 11 qualifying matches for Euro 2016, is fit to start.

Denmark beat Sweden 1-0 the last time the two sides met in Copenhagen in May 2014.

The teams will wear black armbands and observe a minute's silence following the events in Paris.

The game is also of huge financial significance for the Swedish Football Federation which missed out on a cash windfall from the World Cup in Brazil and has come under financial pressure from its involvement with the national stadium, Friends arena.  

In the other remaining play-off tie, Ukraine take a 2-0 first-leg lead to Slovenia.

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