EURO friendly report card: Sweden

John Guidetti or Marcus Berg? How to improve proficiency in front of goal? How to improve their set-piece defending? Sweden's friendlies provided more questions than answers.

Zlatan Ibrahimović shows his frustration during Tuesday's friendly against the Czech Republic
©AFP/Getty Images

Results
Thursday: Turkey 2-1 Sweden (Cenk Tosun 32 81; Granqvist 74)
Olsen; Lustig, Granqvist, Lindelöf, Augustinsson; Durmaz (Larsson 46), Ekdal (Hiljemark 81), Kallström (Wernbloom 71), Zengin (Forsberg 62); Guidetti (Kujovic 62), Berg

The first international match at the Antalya Stadium ended in success for the Crescent-Stars. The combination of some fine Volkan Babacan saves and Cenk Tosun's close-range strike left Turkey 1-0 up at the break, but Andreas Granqvist levelled following a set piece, with the home midfield flagging as the game went on. Cenk, however, popped up to head the winner from Selçuk İnan's free-kick.

Tuesday: Sweden 1-1 Czech Republic (Berg 14; Vydra 26)
Isaksson; Salomonsson (Lustig 81), Nilsson Lindelöf (Milosevic 65), Granqvist, Olsson; Durmaz (Larsson 46), Lewicki (Wernbloom 63), Källström (Hiljemark 46), Forsberg; Ibrahimović, Berg (Guidetti 45)

Sweden and the Czech Republic created plenty of chances yet only one goal apiece. Most of the action came in the first half, with Zlatan Ibrahimović and Emil Forsberg both denied by Tomás Vaclík from close range while at the other end a strong Theodor Gebre Selassie shot stung Andreas Isaksson's palms. Marcus Berg and Matej Vydra provided the efforts that counted. The second half saw plenty of substitutions but few openings of note.

Marcus Berg (No9) is vying for a starting berth
Marcus Berg (No9) is vying for a starting berth©AFP/Getty Images

What we learned
1) The way that a young Swedish team faced up to the cauldron in Antalya bodes well for the pressure that awaits in France.

2) John Guidetti and Marcus Berg are neck and neck in the race to partner Zlatan Ibrahimović up front.

3) Though coach Erik Hamrén tested new full-backs this past week, Martin Olsson and Mikael Lustig remain first choices at left and right-back respectively.

Questions remain
▪ Hamrén's players created plenty but scored just once in each friendly. How can they improve on their efficiency?

▪ On the right of midfield, Jimmy Durmaz got the first 45 minutes in both friendlies, with Sebastian Larsson coming on at the interval. Who will get the nod in France?

Highlights of Sweden's U21 EURO triumph
Highlights of Sweden's U21 EURO triumph

▪ Can Hamrén harness the energy of last summer's Under-21 EURO winners? Plenty of them will feature this June.

Room for improvement 
Sweden concede more than they would like when defending set pieces. Turkey and the Czechs both exploited that weakness from free-kicks. It is not a new problem – it was also Sweden's undoing at UEFA EURO 2012 – and needs to be rectified urgently.

EURO certainties (if fit)
Goalkeepers: Andreas Isaksson (Kasımpaşa)

Defenders: Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Andreas Granqvist (Krasnodar), Martin Olsson (Norwich)

Kim Källström is a definite for EURO
Kim Källström is a definite for EURO©AFP/Getty Images

Midfielders: Kim Källström (Grasshoppers), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig), Albin Ekdal (Hamburg)

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimović (Paris), Marcus Berg (Panathinaikos), John Guidetti (Celta Vigo)

Media view
Simon Bank, Sportbladet
"No speed, no tempo, no win. No injuries, no worrying clouds, no defeat. Glass half-empty or half-full? We did not get any answers to that, and with 73 days to go until the EURO opener, unfortunately neither did Erik Hamrén."

Top