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Sweden's Seger primed for Iceland battle

Published: Saturday 20 July 2013, 18.26CET
Sweden midfielder Caroline Seger has implored her team to play their natural game when they tackle Iceland in Sunday's first UEFA Women's EURO 2013 quarter-final.
by Sujay Dutt & Sam Crompton
from Halmstad
Sweden's Seger primed for Iceland battle
Sweden's Caroline Seger has enjoyed the level of home support ©Sportsfile
 

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Published: Saturday 20 July 2013, 18.26CET

Sweden's Seger primed for Iceland battle

Sweden midfielder Caroline Seger has implored her team to play their natural game when they tackle Iceland in Sunday's first UEFA Women's EURO 2013 quarter-final.

"In Sweden we call it 'den tolfte spelaren'. You can look that up on Google," Caroline Seger told media personnel unfamiliar with the home nation's mother tongue at Saturday's pre-quarter-final press conference in Halmstad.

By following the chirpy midfielder's instructions, one is presented with a translation reading 'the 12th player', something Sweden can count on when they entertain another sell-out crowd at Orjans Vall for their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 last-eight showdown with Iceland.

"The support has been extremely important," said Seger. "It has been a pleasure to play in front of such a big crowd. It has been really fun and great that so many people have turned up to watch us. We just hope to continue playing well for them."

Sweden are well-acquainted with Sunday's opponents, having triumphed 6-0 when the sides met at the Algarve Cup in March. A subsequent 2-0 friendly success, during which Lotta Schelin registered her 50th international goal, underpins the hosts' billing as favourites.

Seger is taking nothing for granted, however, and warned her team-mates against the dangers of complacency. "I can only speak for the players when I say I really hope that nobody harbours such feelings [of underestimating Iceland]," said the 28-year-old, who started each of Sweden's three Group A fixtures.

"It's a quarter-final, a massive game for everyone, and we are desperate to progress to the semi-finals. We have big ambitions at this tournament and we want to fulfill them, starting with a tough test tomorrow."

Both nations arrived at this juncture of the competition in contrasting ways. Sweden overwhelmed Finland 5-0 and accounted for Italy with a potent combination of short, sharp passing and dizzying counterattacks. Iceland, meanwhile, have garnered a reputation for being meticulously organised and combative in their approach, slowly squeezing the life out of their opponents.

Seger will not allow her side to be embroiled in a physical battle, though, preferring to counteract Iceland's strengths by sticking vehemently to Sweden's natural style. "We need to avoid getting involved in a physical game," explained the Tyresö FF player.

"We also need to make sure we move the ball very fast and use our speed so they can't get so close to us, because that's how Iceland will want to play the game."

Last updated: 20/07/13 18.40CET

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