Sweden bowed out of UEFA EURO 2012 with honour by beating France 2-0, leaving coach Erik Hamrén happy to present a victory to their fans – and hotel staff – but sad to not go further. Laurent Blanc was a clearly frustrated figure despite his team earning a quarter-final place, as they slipped to second position in Group D, meaning a Saturday meeting with holders Spain in Donetsk.
Erik Hamrén, Sweden coach
Right now I have quite mixed feelings. We should be content after today's victory, we were up against a strong team, because they hadn't been beaten in 23 games. This shows what we were up against. We gave an incredibly good performance. We created a small margin which we perhaps didn't in the matches before, and you need those in order to win matches. So it's happiness and pride for this particular match. It's good for our self-respect and for the fantastic fans.
Still, there also is some sadness in all of us, because we feel we really wanted to stay in the tournament a while longer. Our ambition was to go further, but now we've not made it, that of course hurts a bit. But we already knew that before this match, which makes it an even greater accomplishment that we have given it this much.
We have really enjoyed our stay in Kyiv, with a fantastic hotel and people. It was like leaving friends today when we left the hotel. It was a great game for them too, not just us and our supporters as I think they share our happiness. We are disappointed we have to leave, but that's life.
Laurent Blanc, France coach
We were prepared for a tough game.
Did we think it was going be as difficult as it was going turned out be? No we didn't expect that. We were weak in certain areas of the pitch, too weak in the tackle. Sweden put everything into the game, they were better prepared physically and they have a player [Zlatan Ibrahimović] who can make the difference – a lot of factors that meant we couldn't win. We are very disappointed. We struggled throughout the game but we did cause problems for Sweden, it was a very open game. You might have thought it was two sides trying to qualify but only one side went out and won, and that was Sweden.
I don't think we struggled going forward, we struggled at the back and in midfield. Sweden had a big physical impact. We hoped in the second half their intensity would drop but that wasn't the case. We conceded a lot of space but we also created a lot of chances so we could have had a 1-1, a 2-1 or even a 2-2.
I think you always have to be optimistic. Of course we are disappointed with the result, we wanted a different result. We are disappointed of course, but the most important thing is we qualified for the quarter-finals. Even though Sweden played well, they are going home tomorrow. We need to stay optimistic, we didn't make thing easy for ourselves. It is not the easiest thing to play Spain at the moment, we have to be rested and need a really good performance to beat them. Be we are going to focus and are going to fight. Tomorrow will be more optimistic than tonight and I hope by Saturday we will be at a higher level.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.