Having qualified for a fifth successive major tournament with a 2-1 win against Latvia that secured second place in Group F, Sweden's coach and players reflected on a job well done.
'Did what we had to'
Needing just a point to reach UEFA EURO 2008™, Lars Lagerbäck's side made the perfect start in Solna when Marcus Allbäck opened the scoring inside the first minute. Although Jurijs Laizans brought Latvia level with a deflected shot – the ball striking Daniel Majstorovic to leave goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson helpless – Kim Källström clinched the decisive victory on 57 minutes. This left Lagerbäck quietly satisfied rather than triumphant: "We didn't play well but we did what we had to, and that's what counts.
"I'm happy for all the people in the Swedish Football Association and for my players, who did a great job – they're the ones to congratulate," continued the coach, whose side could have been eliminated had they lost and Northern Ireland won away to section leaders Spain (who in the event prevailed). "We looked shaky at times in the first half, but in the second we played with confidence. Källström's goal calmed us down and of course Spain's goal against Northern Ireland helped us too."
'Couldn't be better'
Although Zlatan Ibrahimović failed to score in his six qualifying appearances, the success of the team remained his primary concern. "We did what we had to do and that's all that matters," said the striker. "We combined well at times, but it was a far from vintage performance. There was a lot at stake and we weren't fully concentrated. After a fantastic start, which couldn't have been better, our own sloppy play meant we lost the initiative, but in the end we were stronger than them."
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