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Lagerbäck laments bitter blow

Published: Sunday 15 June 2008, 0.46CET
Luis Aragonés put his emotional reaction to Spain's late winner down to the "beautiful" atmosphere in his squad as Lars Lagerbäck bemoaned a "bitter" defeat.
by Andrew Haslam
from Stadion Tivoli Neu
Lagerbäck laments bitter blow
Sweden coach Lars Lagerbäck ©Getty Images

Match statistics


Goals scored1
Attempts on target2
Attempts off target5
Fouls committed20
Yellow cards1
Red cards0


Last updated: 27/06/2012 11:56 CET


P: Played   
Pts: Points   
Published: Sunday 15 June 2008, 0.46CET

Lagerbäck laments bitter blow

Luis Aragonés put his emotional reaction to Spain's late winner down to the "beautiful" atmosphere in his squad as Lars Lagerbäck bemoaned a "bitter" defeat.

Spain coach Luis Aragonés put his unusually emotional reaction to David Villa's last-gasp winner against Sweden in Innsbruck down to the "beautiful" atmosphere in his squad, describing the decisive goal as "nearly impossible" as his team went through as confirmed Group D victors. His Sweden counterpart Lars Lagerbäck, whose team looked to have earned a point as Zlatan Ibrahimović, withdrawn at half-time with a knee injury, cancelled out Fernando Torres's 15th-minute opener with his second goal in as many games, was left to lament a "bitter" blow. He remains optimistic, however, that his side can reach the quarter-finals, and they only need a draw on Wednesday against Russia to do so.

Lars Lagerbäck, Sweden coach
Obviously this is a bitter way of losing a match, in the final seconds. We did really well in the first half and created more chances. Spain had a lot of possession, however, and created some good opportunities as well so we have to congratulate them. I've said before they're the best passing side in the world so I want to pay homage to our team, despite this bitter loss. In the midst of this desolation we realise it's still in our own hands. We're going to recharge our batteries over the next few days and then get ready for another fantastic game. I think we have a realistic chance of qualifying, there's enough character in the team and this squad. There will be real disappointment over the next 24 hours but we'll be able to bounce back and our destiny is still in our own hands.

Zlatan had some pain in his knee and we had a brief discussion with our medical team. He would probably have been able to play another few minutes but we thought taking him off was the better option rather than risk making the injury worse. The substitutes did well but Zlatan put in a top-class performance in the first half and of course we missed that. I think the injury is the same as it was after the Greece game, so I expect him to play in the next match. I don't know if we're too dependent on Zlatan but he's a world-class player. If you have a player of that calibre, of course he's going to be important and obviously our chances are improved when he plays.

Luis Aragonés, Spain coach
I think we were the better side, particularly in the second half. You could see Sweden were really very tired and we had the chances. The team played better when we managed to get the ball. I have lots of respect for Sweden, they're a good team who play long balls, but they play them well. We also played too many long passes because we have the speed of [Fernando] Torres. When they stole the ball, they really came back at us and it's hard to hold people who are 20cm taller than you. Sweden made us work very hard, but we had more of the ball and managed to create a couple of good chances. We were fortunate to have Villa, who scored a goal which was nearly impossible. You look at it from the outside and you say "How did he manage to score that?"

You always have to believe in luck, even knowing the difficulties you have in games and that other teams play well. My celebration isn't very usual for me but I saw the bench and it's important for a coach to see how people react to a goal there. I'm not a man who celebrates so it was unusual for me but the goal was so late. The beautiful thing was the way the players on the team went to those on the bench to celebrate together.

Last updated: 15/06/08 3.27CET