Sweden defender Martin Olsson said England are ‘scared’ of striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of Friday’s Euro 2012 Group D clash.
AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic continues to have his doubters within the English game, but played well and opened the scoring in his side’s eventual 2-1 loss to co-hosts Ukraine on Monday.
Blackburn stopper Olsson said there may be an ulterior motive behind the constant criticism.
“I think they say what they say to throw him off balance,” he told Swedish newspaper Expressen.
“Everyone knows that he is an awesome player, he has won something with every club he has played for.
“I do not think anyone can argue with that. Maybe they feel a little scared now, nervous for when we will meet them.”
The Three Lions have every right to be wary of Sweden ahead of their second group game, given that they have not beaten the Scandinavians in a competitive affair since 1968.
However, they will take confidence from a 1-0 friendly victory in November last year, in what turned out to be Fabio Capello’s last game in charge.
Ibrahimovic, though, will be looking to extend his impressive international goal tally of 32 goals in 78 games, and Olsson hopes he will be able to do just that on Friday.
“If Ibrahimovic is in the right mood, anything can happen. Sometimes he doesn’t touch the ball in 20 to 30 minutes and then he suddenly explodes. Hopefully it will happen against England as well,” Olsson said.
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