Sweden trio vying to replace Mellberg in qualifier
Andreas Granqvist, Petter Hansson and Jonas Olsson were selected Tuesday in Sweden’s 20-man squad and will vie to replace the suspended Olof Mellberg for the 2012 European Championship qualifier against the Netherlands next month.
Daniel Majstorovic is likely to fill the other center back position against the World Cup finalists in Amsterdam on Oct. 12.
Sweden’s Football Association decided not to appeal Mellberg’s two-match suspension after he was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle in the 6-0 rout of San Marino in the last qualifier.
AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has shown new levels of motivation since returning from self-imposed exile from international football, is included in the squad and will continue to captain the side.
Sweden started its qualifying campaign with home victories against San Marino and Hungary, scoring eight goals without conceding. The match against the Netherlands represents the first big test of coach Erik Hamren’s reign since he replaced Lars Lagerback after Sweden’s unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign.
Goalkeepers: Andreas Isaksson (PSV Eindhoven), Johan Wiland (FC Copenhagen).
Defenders: Andreas Granqvist (Groningen), Petter Hansson (Monaco), Mikael Lustig (Rosenborg), Daniel Majstorovic (Celtic), Jonas Olsson (West Bromwich Albion), Behrang Safari (FC Basel), Oscar Wendt (FC Copenhagen), Emir Bajrami (FC Twente).
Midfielders: Tobias Hysen (IFK Goteborg), Kim Kallstrom (Lyon), Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham), Anders Svensson (Elfsborg), Pontus Wernbloom (AZ Alkmaar), Christian Wilhelmsson (Al Hilal).
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan), Marcus Berg (PSV Eindhoven), Johan Elmander (Bolton), Ola Toivonen (PSV Eindhoven).