> Sports > 2002 FIFA WORLD CUP 

   June 13, 2002 | 1105 IST


Swedish fan
Another one bites the dust

  Best of the Web

A compilation of the best links on the World Cup.

  Soccer Store

Snap up Jerseys, Books, CD ROMs and Arsenal soccer balls. Click here

Sweden reviving memories of 1994

E-Mail this report to a friend
Print this page Best Printed on  HP Laserjets

Sweden central defender Johan Mjallby believes his team have the ability to match their compatriots' third-place finish at the 1994 World Cup.

After another man-of-the-match performance at the heart of a magnificent rearguard action by the Swedes in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Argentina, Mjallby suggested they had enough players with a winning mentality to reach at least the quarter-finals.

"Obviously, I can understand that some people are disappointed at what happened in this group, but we showed that we wanted to go through and we also want to go further in this tournament," he said.

Sweden's success in holding out against pre-tournament favourites Argentina's desperate siege of their goal in the second half earned them a point and top place as the leading survivors in the Group of Death.

Sweden celebrate the first goal against Argentina It also confirmed the unexpected early elimination of Argentina, alongside France, from a tournament where arrogant skills are being allowed no room to shine by compact, well-organised and hard-working opponents.

Mjallby, 31, thinks Sweden will grow in confidence, even without injured midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg, as the tournament unfolds, starting with a second-round match against Senegal on Sunday.

"Senegal will be difficult, of course, but you cannot play any more difficult teams than Argentina, England and Nigeria. Obviously, they will be very different from Nigeria. They are stronger defensively and not reliant on attacking as their main strength.

"We have played sides like that before and we know it is going to be very difficult for us, but the good thing is that I don't think we are going to be under the same kind of pressure again, as we were against Argentina.

"We have a very solid defence and we showed it once again. We have a lot of good players in this squad. If we can keep our defence as good and solid as that, then we only have to improve our attacking department a wee bit more.

"If everything comes together, we can be a really good side. I remember the team that went to America. Well to emulate them would be great and that is obviously what we are hoping for, but it was a fantastic thing that they achieved.

"We have a great attitude in this team. A lot of good guys who don't want to be second to anyone. They really want to win things. We built the defence before Euro 2000 and we've added to it and now we have a squad with many players in it who are used to trying to win things.

"The team spirit in all three games has been fantastic and we showed it by coming back from one down in the two previous games."

Sweden's best World Cup performance was finishing as runners-up to Brazil on home soil in 1958.

Back to top
(c) Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


(c) 2002 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.