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Sweden's Hamrén wary of Croatia quality

Published: Tuesday 28 February 2012, 20.07CET
Despite fresh injury worries, Sweden coach Erik Hamrén remains focused on Wednesday's friendly with Croatia, labelling their hosts "a quality team, just like the ones we'll face at EURO".
by Sujay Dutt
from Zagreb
Sweden's Hamrén wary of Croatia quality
John Guidetti is fit to face Croatia following an injury scare ©AFP
 
Published: Tuesday 28 February 2012, 20.07CET

Sweden's Hamrén wary of Croatia quality

Despite fresh injury worries, Sweden coach Erik Hamrén remains focused on Wednesday's friendly with Croatia, labelling their hosts "a quality team, just like the ones we'll face at EURO".

Injuries may have interrupted his plans, but Sweden coach Erik Hamrén is still relishing Wednesday’s friendly meeting with fellow UEFA EURO 2012 hopefuls Croatia, identifying the hosts as "a quality team, just like the ones we'll face at EURO".

Sweden will lock horns with England, France and co-hosts Ukraine in Group D this summer, and they will probably have to do so without Daniel Majstorovic after the Celtic FC defender suffered ligament damage in his left knee during a training session in Zagreb. That came after newcomer John Guidetti had already limped away from the training pitch clutching his hip, but while the Feyenoord striker has been passed fit to face Croatia, Majstorovic is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

"He's a fantastic person, which makes it all the more painful," said Hamrén, whose team doctor Leif Svärd has estimated an eight-month recovery period for the 34-year-old. Majstorovic contested nine of Sweden's ten UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers and Hamrén will have to select a replacement to partner Olof Mellberg in central defence at the Stadion Maksimir. Jonas Olsson is the obvious candidate after taking turns with Majstorovic alongside Mellberg during training.

Guidetti’s availability was confirmed after a scan, meanwhile, and he is set to make an eagerly anticipated debut. The 19-year-old has scored 18 goals in 16 Eredivisie outings for Feyenoord this term, spending the season on loan from Manchester City FC, and the buzz around the youngster echoes the rising excitement felt ten years ago when a young Zlatan Ibrahimović was picked for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

"Everything is just rolling along for him, but he's going to run into a wall at some point," commented Ibrahimović, now an undisputed pillar of the side and team captain. "It happened to me too. That’s when you need to show you can get back up again."

Last updated: 21/03/12 16.47CET

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