Sweden coach Jan Andersson is not worried about the criticism of his side’s style of play after their 1-0 win over Slovakia put them on the verge of the knockout stages of the European Championships for the first time since 2004.
A dour match briefly sprang to life around the hour mark with a flurry of chances culminating in Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka bringing down substitute Robin Quaison to allow Emil Forsberg to end the team’s run of 365 minutes without a goal at the tournament.
Sweden won the match with just 42 per cent possession, having earned a draw against Spain in their Euro 2020 Group E opener with just 15 per cent.
But Andersson ignored the critics, saying at his post-match press conference: “We have our way of playing football.
“I don’t think it as a good first half myself. But I think we showed the way we want to play in the second half.
“We should have got another goal in the second half and not have been stressed out by the 1-0 lead.
“Our defence was really good. We are really well organised and the players are sacrificing themselves for each other. Our attack should have more rewards, it was fantastic at times.
“We have played seven games this year and conceded only one goal. If people think we are difficult to play against I’m happy with that.
“The situation looks good, we’ve put ourselves in a good position.”
The only player who lit up an ordinary game was 21-year-old LaLiga player of the year Alexander Isak, who produced one weaving run from deep which almost opened the scoring.
“Isak was the standout player. He is a huge talent, a young player who still has much left to progress but I think he can grow quite a bit more,” added Andersson.
“He played a really good game. Sometimes Isak had to do things on his own and he is very impressive as a youngster to be so mature in his way of playing.”
Slovakia’s lack of ambition cost them dearly and coach Stefan Tarkovic is now hoping for “a miracle” against Spain in their final group game.
“I’m an optimist. We will prepare very responsibly and I am sure we will show the same approach and attitude and then hopefully a small miracle against Spain,” he said.
“It is important to believe in our dreams and maybe believe in miracles.”