Ahead of Sweden's UEFA EURO 2012 opener against Ukraine, Erik Hamrén said he had no problem sleeping. After Monday evening's match he was kept awake by vivid images of Andriy Shevchenko, as the coach rewatched his team's 2-1 defeat in the middle of the night. "I was working until 4.30 and up again at seven," he said.
In a change from Sweden's previous approach under Hamrén, they went for a long-ball tactic throughout much of the goalless first half in Kyiv. "The player with the ball had very few options," the coach said. "That's what I spoke about mostly at the break.
Not enough players showed that they wanted the ball."
After taking the lead early in the second period through Zlatan Ibrahimović, the home side turned it around through two Shevchenko headers. The first one caused Hamrén particular displeasure. "We were eight players against their three in our defensive third," he said. "Conceding a goal then is not good."
Midfielder Kim Källström spoke of a very quiet bus ride to the team hotel after the match. "This morning we are still enormously disappointed", said the Olympique Lyonnais player. "We've put ourselves in a difficult spot."
After Hamrén's half-time talk, there was more movement off the ball from Sweden, making it easier for them to play according to their plan. "The irony is that we conceded two doing what we should do and none when we didn't," said Källström. "But that's football." When asked by reporters if there were likely to be many changes for the next match, against England on Friday, Källström replied: "How we pick the starting XI is far from my job."
Midfield partner Rasmus Elm acknowledged the need for urgent improvement against Roy Hodgson's team, who drew 1-1 with France in the other Group D match. "We absolutely have to do better against England. If we play like we did in the first half it's going to be hard to beat any team," said Elm. "But our second half yesterday was much better than the first one."
The gravity of Sweden's situation, having lost to supposedly their weakest group opponents, was not lost on Källström either. "
We don't have much margin for further mistakes – we've used up our joker," he said."
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