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Unbelievable we're talking about Ibrahimovic - Sweden boss

Janne Andersson preferred to focus on the players who sealed their country’s World Cup berth.

Former Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Former Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

A BAFFLED JANNE Andersson dismissed talk of former captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic coming out of retirement to re-join Sweden after the country qualified for the 2018 World Cup at the expense of Italy.

Sweden produced a gritty defensive effort to hold four-time world champions Italy to a goalless draw in Milan on Monday – securing a 1-0 aggregate victory.

It was a win that defied the odds and condemned Italy to miss the World Cup for the first time since 1958 but talk quickly turned to the possible return of Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer Ibrahimovic, who walked away from international football following Euro 2016.

The 36-year-old Manchester United striker – who has not played since April due to a knee ligament injury – dominated the post-match news conference but Sweden head coach Andersson preferred to focus on the group of players who sealed the country’s passage to Russia next year.

This is incredible! This player [Ibrahimovic] has just stopped to play with Sweden one year and a half ago and we are still here talking about him,” Andersson told reporters post-match.

“Gosh, we need to talk about the great players we have in this team I believe.”

On the match itself at San Siro, Andersson added: “What I wanted to say was that this was the demonstration that our collective acted like this during the whole length of the play-offs.

“We have many heroes tonight. I am a bit moved but obviously very happy with the result.”

“When Ibrahimovic was here with us we played a different style of football,” he continued. “But considering that he has decided to leave international football, he is a great champion but we had to adapt and found another style/game.”

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