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Svensson looking ahead with renewed optimism

Sweden's Anders Svensson said that at 35 he is not ready to retire yet as he looks ahead to the FIFA World Cup qualifiers with confidence restored following a "bitter" victory.

Sweden celebrate
Sweden celebrate ©Getty Images

Sweden veteran Anders Svensson is, at 35, turning attention to 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying with fresh optimism after an impressive 2-0 victory over France. He and team-mate Christian Wilhelmsson admitted the win left a "bitter" taste, however, as they pondered what might have been.

Anders Svensson, Sweden midfielder
First of all it's a disappointment not to progress further. It's nice to end with a good match and a win, but it feels a bit bitter to know that we'd messed it up earlier. It was good to win a match and show the Swedish people that we can play good football, that our work pays off and that we can beat the best teams. But it's bitter, beating the best team in the group and yet not progressing. We wanted to show what we can do. Such an incredible amount of Swedish fans have spent a lot of money to travel here and support us. We wanted to play a good match and win it to repay them with some joy.

It could be a fine ending [to my career], winning a European Championship match. But let's see. I felt during the two matches that I started, that I can still play at a very high level and Erik [Hamrén] and I have talked a bit, so it wasn't necessarily my last international game.

We've changed our style of play since Erik came. We try to play more football. To beat France, who were 23 matches unbeaten before tonight, and to do it by daring to keep possession, like we did against England. We have been criticised for being too naive but we believe in this. If we can improve even more, then we can reach even higher heights. Beating France like we did gives us a lot of confidence going into the World Cup qualifiers.

Christian Wilhelmsson, Sweden midfielder
It was great to finish with a game like this, a bit bitter now, when one more point would have been enough for us to get through. But we will take this game with us to the World Cup qualification. I feel good in this group, and that I've still got things to contribute. As long as I have that, I feel I want to stay and compete for a place, absolutely.

Kim Källström, Sweden midfielder
We made [France] play poorly. Maybe I should not say 'poorly' but we disarmed them well before they got into our defensive third of the field. All in all, it was a good game from our point of view. It was the first time we have managed to win in the tournament, which is a bit frustrating given the fact that we played to a standard worthy of much more than for us to be going home now. On the other hand results that are the most important thing and results don't lie. So we must now pack our bags and go home.

[Signing off with a win] was probably the best thing that could happen for us. We got to show that we are a good football team, that we can keep it tight in defence and that we can score - and that we can play well against good teams. So we need to elaborate on this before the World Cup qualifiers in the autumn. Even if it was a very tough tournament for us in terms of the results, at least we had a very good finish to it.

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