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.

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Gerrard is the best: Cabaye

Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle v Swansea

France midfielder Yohan Cabaye has admitted he fears rejuvenated Steven Gerrard the most out of England’s exciting squad, ahead of their game on Monday.
Newcastle star Cabaye has admitted his side is expecting a tough game against The Three Lions and Manchester United striker, Danny Welbeck, who was on target against Belgium, is also a cause for concern for Les Bleus.
“I am expecting a big fight and a very big game,” Cabaye said. “We are ready. Even with England’s absentees, they will have a big team to beat France. We are in the position of outsiders and I think the English are more favorites than us in this group.
“Steven Gerrard is the soul of this team. Even though he has not played much this season, we will be wary,” Cabaye added about the fit-again England captain.
“Also, I like Danny Welbeck. After that, it is certain that the absence of Wayne Rooney will be important for them. Rooney’s absence will be a chance for us but we will be wary of his replacement.”

Blanc not happy with the French Defence

Karim Benzema en équipe de France

Karim Benzema

Laurent Blanc has told his France defenders they must improve, despite seeing his side ease to a 4-0 victory over Estonia in their final warm-up game on Tuesday night.

“I’m not going to beat around the bush. Our defence was not good enough,” Blanc said. “It was an easy game, very easy … I said to them: ‘This is not your day – the team is dominating out there and yet we’re getting ourselves in trouble.’

“You have to understand that it wasn’t the opposition that was causing us problems. We have to have a long hard think about what happened out there.

“The most important thing, whether you’re playing up front, in midfield or in defence, is to play simple. We didn’t do that in the first half and we found ourselves in trouble. They need to improve, and I’m talking about all four defenders.”

France were due to fly out to Ukraine on Wednesday before opening their European Championship campaign against England on Monday.

France’s run of form since Blanc took over at the start of the qualification campaign for Poland and Ukraine has many tipping them as dark horses for the title.

But the Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribéry – who has scored in his past three internationals – is refusing to look any further than his side’s Group D programme, which also includes matches against Sweden and the co-hosts Ukraine.

“We all want to go as far as possible in the Euros, but the aim is to get past the group stage,” he said. “We mustn’t rush into this game against England. We’ve still got a few days. First and foremost, we want to get to Ukraine and settle into our hotel, start training and preparing.”

Asked about his productive partnership with the Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, Ribéry said: “It’s very good with Karim. We can find each other with our eyes closed. What’s more, we get along really well away from football in our everyday life.

“When we play like that, it’s great. It’s just carrying on from my form with my club this season. I would have liked my relationship with the France team to have always been this good. For me to score three goals in three games is just incredible.”

France’s victory on Tuesday followed a 2-0 win over Serbia and a 3-2 victory over Iceland in France’s first two warmup games, and Benzema said: “It’s important to win, but also to play well. We’re looking good after three very good matches. We’re ready for the Euros.”