Hamren confident Sweden will be focused

BY foxsports • October 11, 2011

Sweden coach Erik Hamren is confident his players will remain focused on their match against Holland, despite knowing results elsewhere could decide whether or not they qualify automatically for Euro 2012.

The Dutch have already booked their ticket to Poland and Ukraine next summer as Group E winners, while Sweden are certain to finish second.

That means Hamren's side are already assured of a play-off spot, but will seal the final automatic place awarded to the best runner-up across the nine groups if they win at Rasunda Stadium on Tuesday night.

If Sweden fail to beat Holland, however, their progress will depend on the result of the Group H clash between Denmark and Portugal, as well as games elsewhere.

And although Hamren admits it will be difficult to shield his players from what is happening in Copenhagen, he is confident they will not be distracted by it.

"The players are certainly going to know (what's happening), not least from the crowd and their emotions," he said in a press conference.

"But they are so focused and they have to focus on their own roles.

"The players won't react any differently if they know what the results in other matches are."

It will not be easy for the hosts in Stockholm, though, as they face a Holland side who have won all nine of their Group E qualifiers - including a 4-1 rout of Sweden in Amsterdam a year ago.

Hamren will also be without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is suspended, although he has no injury problems to contend with unlike his Dutch counterpart Bert van Marwijk.

Oranje will travel to Stockholm without Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Ibrahim Afellay, Maarten Stekelenburg and John Heitinga.

Yet captain Mark van Bommel is hopeful they can maintain their unbeaten run, especially in the absence of his AC Milan team-mate Ibrahimovic.

"It's a shame Zlatan is missing," Van Bommel told www.knvb.nl. "He is without a doubt the best player in Sweden.

"We've been teasing each other a little bit. For example, he sent me a text and wrote how it would be nice if we could give Sweden three points. But he can forget that.

"We want to show we can win every match and our goal is also to win in Sweden. They're the strongest opponents in our group.

"This is good preparation for us ahead of the Euro 2012 finals. It's like a tournament match.

"We are completely focused on going to Sweden and winning. We haven't lost a single qualifier so far and don't want to either."


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