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Dublin: 3°C Tuesday 26 January 2021
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Close the roof! Sweden boss Hamren doesn't want to wear long-stockings tomorrow

Sweden manager Erik Hamren is “full of respect” for Ireland ahead of tomorrow’s World Cup qualifier in Stockholm.

Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

SWEDISH MANAGER ERIK Hamren has insisted it’s better for everyone if the Friends Arena roof is closed for Ireland’s World Cup qualifier on Friday – including Giovanni Trapattoni.

The Irish boss asked on Wednesday for the stadium to be left open, despite temperatures set to dip to -10°C.

“It is too loud,” Trapattoni said. “I was in Germany with his situation before, and it was bad for us because of the crowd. It would not be cold. The pitch is what’s important. It’s for the spectators that it will be cold.”

Interestingly, Hamren took on a more populist stance.

I don’t think it makes a difference for the players. But for the audience, for supporters, for me and Trapattoni, it’s better to have it locked. Then we don’t have to have long-stockings on. In my opinion, let it it be closed. It’s going to be cold tomorrow night. Those paying a lot of money to see the game, let them enjoy it. If they don’t have it, they have to prepare [for the cold]. If they have, why not use it?”

Hamren also said he expected a close game in what is an increasingly tight battle for second place behind Germany, and paid credit to their away record of never having been beaten in a qualifier on the road.

“[Ireland] are a really good team. We are full of respect for them. The team played in Euro [2012] last summer and is worth all respect. If you see away statistics from Ireland, you can see it is a really tough team to beat. I expect a tough game tomorrow and they always play, in my opinion with heart in the green shirt. We are ready, the players are ready and it’s going to be a tough game. It will be really tough to beat them. That’s our goal, to be that good. Then we’ll see what happens. There’s only one point between us so, yeah, it will be a really important game.”

Hamren also said that his side must improve defensively, having conceded nine in their last three games. Two of those, however, were friendlies against England and Argentina with the other a stirring 4-4 comeback against Germany.

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“The defence is still not there,” Hamren conceded. “We had some problems in defence in these games with nine goals, so I am not satisfied with that. We have also met the number-two, three and six [ranked] countries in the world. So we’re not ready there yet. We’re working to be a better team all the time. We’re satisfied we scored 10 goals in those games but we have to work on this.”

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