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Praise for Ibrahimović, Wilmots happy with Belgium

Published: Thursday 23 June 2016, 0.29CET
Eden Hazard and outgoing Sweden coach Erik Hamrén paid tribute to Zlatan Ibrahimović after the Blågult's loss to a Belgium side whose progress to the last 16 has pleased Marc Wilmots.
by Wayne Harrison from Stade de Nice
Praise for Ibrahimović, Wilmots happy with Belgium
Belgium goalscorer Radja Nainggolan shakes hands with Zlatan Ibrahimović ©Getty Images
SSI Err
Published: Thursday 23 June 2016, 0.29CET

Praise for Ibrahimović, Wilmots happy with Belgium

Eden Hazard and outgoing Sweden coach Erik Hamrén paid tribute to Zlatan Ibrahimović after the Blågult's loss to a Belgium side whose progress to the last 16 has pleased Marc Wilmots.

Marc Wilmots, Belgium coach
They had to open up, so that's why we defended a bit deeper. We stuck to our plan. Both teams attacked and tactically we were better on the counter. It must have been a difficult watch for people with heart problems.

I said bravo to Zlatan Ibrahimović for his career. I was a player myself and know how difficult it is when you finish with the national team. You have to be careful with him because he is very intelligent. Sometimes he drops deep and is then one on one against a central defender.

They were obliged to open up and if you do that against us you will be punished. Six points from nine is very positive and since the defeat by Italy we have been very good.

Eden Hazard, Belgium midfielder and man of the match
Zlatan Ibrahimović has done a lot of great things in his career and would have wanted to go further here. Our objective was to qualify, but unfortunately he is now eliminated. He will remain a great player and still has a lot to offer at club level.

Axel Witsel wary of surprising Hungary in last 16

It was a difficult match, complicated for our defenders. In the first half we had some possession and created chances. Nainggolan scored an important goal and from then on we had to manage the game.

Erik Hamrén, Sweden coach
We were talking before the game about the honour of representing Sweden and of being here, but I couldn't have asked for much more from my players. I'm proud of them, even though we lost.

©AFP/Getty Images

We had some chances and then Belgium scored at the end. Our last couple of games weren't too bad, but unfortunately we couldn't take our opportunities.

I hoped Zlatan would have had a better finish. The same goes for [Andreas] Isaksson and [Kim] Källström, who have been very good for a long time and who are also ending their Sweden careers. Unearthing a new Zlatan? No, he is special, he is unique. I don't think that in a small country like Sweden you will find another player like him.

Last updated: 12/07/16 17.28CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2016/matches/round=2000448/match=2017957/postmatch/quotes/index.html#tributes+ibrahimovic