Loss was a bad luck: Zlatan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes that bad luck was responsible for Sweden’s 3-2 loss to England at Euro 2012 on Friday.

The AC Milan striker cited a failure to learn from previous defensive mistakes as the cause of their setback against the Three Lions in Kiev.

The result means that Sweden go in to their last group game against France knowing they are going home regardless of the result, after losing their opening two matches of the tournament.

“It was a fantastic game. We were down 1-0 but then turned it around and were leading 2-1 but couldn’t preserve it,” the 30-year-old told TV4.

“We stuck to our game but were unlucky with the goals we let in. They went in the same way we have conceded before.

“But it’s just a shame that we lost. We did not deserve it. I don’t have any positive feelings now. It’s tragic.”

Ibrahimovic claimed that Sweden were the better team and deserved to win, and can hold their heads up high regardless of the result.

“I think we can be proud. We did well and were up against a great team. We were better than them. But the difference is that they scored three goals and we only scored two,” he said.


Ronaldo will score: Rui Patricio

Cristiano Ronaldo during the friendly match Po...

Cristiano Ronaldo

Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio is positive that team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo will score in Sunday’s Euro 2012 match against Netherlands.

The Real Madrid star has come under fire after failing to impress in the country’s first two matches at Euro 2012, missing clear chances on goal.

He has yet to find the back of the net in the tournament, but Patricio believes that the 27-year-old will break his duck in the decisive match against the Oranje.

“Cristiano always plays well,” he told UEFA’s official website. “Things not always go the best way, also when it comes to finishing, but only those who play miss chances.

“Still, Cristiano had an excellent game, he tried hard and I believe that he will score on Sunday already.”

Questioned about Netherlands, Patricio said that he trusts Portugal’s chances for the match despite acknowledging that the Dutch are tough to beat.

“We will have to approach this game the same way we did against Germany and Denmark,” the Sporting Lisbon goalkeeper said.

“We will have to give our all, we will need to be aggressive and do everything that we have done so far. We will have to believe until the end that we can beat Netherlands.

“They are a very strong team, with excellent players and great attackers.

“Our main goal has always been to reach the quarter-finals. We know we have a very hard game ahead, but we will do everything to progress.”

Will include Huntellar in the next fixture: Bert van Marwijk

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Robin van Persie

Former Holland defender Adri van Tiggelen has encouraged Oranje boss Bert van Marwijk to include Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the starting XI for the next two group stage matches.

The inclusion of  Huntelaar would inevitably relegate Arsenal talisman Robin van Persie, who did little to nothing against Denmark in Holland’s first match of Euro 2012, to the bench.

“I guess it is about time that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar starts up front, I am kind of fed up with Robin van Persie,” he told NUSport.

“It is a fact he did an amazing job at Arsenal this season, but his performances have been heavily disappointing in the Netherlands national team.

“Besides, we have two defensive midfielders who are hardly involved in attack. If Denmark benefited from that, Germany and Portugal will definitely do it as well.”

To be fair to Van Persie, Huntelaar had a golden chance to level the scoring for the Dutch, but the chance went begging after the referee ruled that the goalkeeper was fouled.

I think Van Tiggelen comments are a bit harsh, but understandable when looking at Van Persie’s 2011-12 form with Arsenal.

You’d always fancy Robin van Persie getting his name on the score-sheet, especially when given the amount of chances he had against Denmark.

I give all the credit to the Danes, who constantly forced RVP onto his weaker right foot.

Denmark was brilliant, Holland was not. Sometimes it’s just that simple.

With that said, star winger Arjen Robben was just as poor as Van Persie.

The Bayern Munich standout became notorious for smacking the ball into the stands against Denmark.

In case your wondering, you don’t get any points for doing that.

Now then, the only positive takeaway for the Dutch was the play of Wesley Sneijder.

But that pro was turned into a con when Sneijder revealed that he picked up a knee injury in Holland’s first match of the group stage.

“I have some trouble at the back of my knee,” Sneijder told Telegraaf.

Can it get any worse for Holland? Surely not.

All things considered, Holland can still qualify for the knock stages, but they’ll need to get a result against Germany, and preferably three points.

However, I don’t see that happening. Portugal played very well against Germany, and failed to get a proper result. On the other hand, Holland looked ordinary against the Danes, who looked like they had goals in them throughout the match.

Expect a rampant Germany when these two teams meet, with Jogi Löw getting the better of Bert van Marwijk.

Pirlo happy with Italy’s show

Andrea Pirlo

Midfielder Andrea Pirlo has rated Italy’s performance in the 1-1 draw with Spain at Euro 2012 as a ‘seven’ out of 10.

Cesare Prandelli’s men went ahead thanks to Antonio Di Natale’s strike on the hour-mark, before Cesc Fabregas equalised to salvage a point for the reigning champions.

Speaking after the encounter, Pirlo did not expect Spain to line-up without one of Fernando Torres, Fernando Llorente or Alvaro Negredo in attack, but took the positives out of their display.

“I was surprised by Spain. They didn’t have a striker, but sometimes they play like this,” Pirlo told Rai Sport.

“We played well. I would give us a seven (out of 10). This match can give us a lot of confidence for our next games.”

Pirlo defended striking duo Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli, saying: “They played well. One was trying to find space, the other one proved his talent.”

De Rossi is a joker: Mourinho

English: José Mourinho

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has slammed Spain’s ‘sterile’ striker-less formation after their 1-1 draw with Italy at Euro 2012.

Vicente del Bosque chose to overlook Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente in order to play 6 midfielders in a 4-3-3 formation.

And the Portuguese boss has hit out at del Bosque’s tactical approach, insisting it damaged Spain’s potency.

“It’s not good to keep on passing between Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta and (Cesc) Fabregas without creating a big threat on (Gianluigi) Buffon’s goal,” he told Al Jazeera.

“Yes, there was a big effort from Spanish midfielders but without a striker the team was sterile.”

The 49-year-old did confess to being impressed by the Italians, and is backing them to surprise a few people during the remainder of the tournament.

“Italy made a good start for their campaign. They played with big discipline in the defence,” Mourinho said.

“I think Italy can go too far in this tournament. Spain failed to stop (Andrea) Pirlo, and when the latter plays comfortable he makes a lot of problems.

“(Daniele) De Rossi is a joker of the team and one of the greatest Italian players.”