Zlatan ready for Sweden-Austria Euro qualifier

4:25 min

Sweden coach Erik Hamrén has declared his captain and talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, fit to start in tonight's vital Euro 2016 qualifier against Group G table-toppers Austria at Stockholm's Friends Arena. 

The 33-year-old Paris Saint-Germain striker aggravated an old muscle injury in the first-half of Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Russia in Moscow, but after coming through training on Monday, he has been passed fit to start.

Hamrén revealed his starting XI at noon, with Erkan Zengin, Kim Källström and Marcus Berg all brought into the team.

The defeat in Moscow reawakened Russia's hopes of finishing second in Group G at Sweden's expense.

Tonight's opponents Austria top Group G by seven points and only need to avoid defeat in Stockholm to book their place in France next summer. Sweden, in second, now only have a single point advantage over Russia, who are in action away against Liechtenstein.

So it's vital that Sweden, unbeaten in 14 home qualifiers, beat the Austrians to stay in the second automatic qualifying spot, with two games remaining after this evening.  

“Russia has an easier game ahead of them, against Liechtenstein, and if Russia takes second place in the group, then Russia and Austria will likely go to France in 2016. Austria need just one point to qualify. If you come in third, you still have a chance to go to France, but it’s a harder way of getting there as you will probably end up in a play-off with another team that’s third in their group,” Swedish Radio Sport's head of news Stefan Elofsson told Radio Sweden. 

The nine group winners and nine runners-up along with the third-placed side with the best record against the teams first, second, fourth and fifth in their section qualify directly for France.

The eight remaining third-placed teams will contest play-offs in November to determine the last four qualifiers for the finals.