Swedish coach gives players rest from training and media
Sweden battened down the hatches in preparations for its key Euro 2008 group match against Russia on Wednesday, local news reports said on Monday. ( dpa )
Coach Lars Lagerback said that players were not to talk to the press and to rest up, read, relax, play golf or just train lightly on Monday before an early evening review of tactics against Russia.
"The players have not made such demands, it is entirely our decision," Lagerback was quoted as telling Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter.
"Our assessment is that it has been a hectic period, physically and mentally," Lagerback told Swedish media of the decision to halt the daily half-hour session with a few players and media.
Lagerback took questions on his own at the scheduled news conference later Monday at the team camp in Lugano, Switzerland, saying he will be able to field knee-injury-plagued star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovich thanks to a "world class" medical team.
However, Lagerback could not say whether Ibrahimovich could play a full match. The Inter Milan star was taken substituted at halftime of Sweden's 2-1 defeat against Spain on Saturday.
A draw against Russia is sufficient for Sweden to qualify from Group D for a quarter-final spot along with group winner Spain, but Lagerback insisted he would play for a draw.
"The selection will be optimized to do the best possible, and preferably to win," Lagerback said.
On Tuesday, Lagerback was to meet the media along with team captain Fredrik Ljungberg.