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Mellberg wary of Ukraine on home soil

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 9 Jun 2012

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Sweden defender Olof Mellberg is wary of the threat co-hosts Ukraine will pose when the sides meet on Monday in Kiev’s Olympic Stadium.

Erik Hamren’s Sweden side prevailed 1-0 against Ukraine courtesy of a 92nd-minute goal from winger Tobias Hysen in a friendly on August 11 last year.

But Mellberg, who played every minute of Sweden’s games in his previous five international tournaments, said Ukraine cannot be underestimated, especially in front of a vocal home crowd.

“I think we have a pretty good idea but they haven’t played that many competitive games over the last couple of years, so it will obviously be a completely different story on Monday in front of their own fans in a really big tournament like this,” the 34-year-old Olympiacos defender said.

“So even though we are fairly familiar with the team, it is difficult to say how they will act on Monday.”

The former Aston Villa and Juventus man declined to discuss Ukraine’s individual talent, instead focusing on the team in general.

“I don’t know, they have a lot of quality players from what we have seen,” he said.

“They seem to be strong going forward, score quite a lot of goals. In the main we have looked at them as a team more than the individuals.

“They have a good team.”

After the Ukraine match, Sweden take on England and France in their other Group D fixtures.

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