Andersson: Sweden embracing big occasion as bug sweeps through team
A bug is sweeping through the Sweden camp, but head coach Janne Andersson is not too concerned as his team stand on the cusp of something momentous against under-fire World Cup holders Germany.
Sweden arrived in Sochi on Friday without three players due to a stomach bug after Andersson confirmed the absence of defenders Pontus Jansson, Filip Helander and midfielder Marcus Rohden.
Manchester United's Victor Lindelof also missed the 1-0 Group F victory over South Korea through illness though he is expected to be fit for Saturday's showdown, which could see Sweden qualify for the next round and Germany eliminated.
Andersson opened his news conference by reading a statement, telling reporters: "We have four players who won't be training today. [Forward] Isaac Kiese Thelin strained his ankle slightly. He's not ready to train.
"We have three players who felt unwell to the stomach last night. So for security reasons we decided to split the trip and not bring them on board because we haven't identified why they felt sick. We expect them to arrive tomorrow instead."
"You can't be annoyed with poor people who have stomach pains. It just happens," Andersson added. "Lindelof, we handled it in an excelled way. Sometimes people fall injured too. I'm not annoyed. I would've preferred everyone 100 per cent."
#SWE head coach Janne Andersson confirmed three players didn’t make the flight to Sochi due to stomach bug.— Sacha Pisani (@Sachk0) June 22, 2018
Jansson, Helander and Rohden were left behind but are set to arrive soon.
Lindelof missed last week’s win through illness too.#GERSWE #WorldCup @OmnisportNews pic.twitter.com/l7xgQ4zrVc
Sweden – who have not reached the round of 16 since 2006 – are on the verge of qualifying for the knockout phase – and a win would condemn Germany to a remarkable premature exit from the showpiece tournament.
"This is really what you spend entire life towards," Andersson said. "Not enjoying it because it's a tough job. We're going to make the most of it.
"Extraordinary to be involved in this and a match of this magnitude. Whether we knock them out is one thing, but we can qualify on our own which is quite extraordinary."
Andreas Granqvist, who scored the VAR-inspired penalty to sink South Korea 1-0, joined Andersson on the podium and basked in the scenario facing Sweden.
While acknowledging Germany's superiority, on paper anyway, the veteran centre-back said: "It's quite amazing. Germany were the big favourites ahead of the World Cup and we would be able to beat them so they wouldn't qualify for the next stage not many people would've imagined that."
"They've played a lot of Champions League matches and World Cup finals etc but we have played together for a two-year period," Granqvist continued.
"We've seen excelled results against better ranked teams. We're well abled to win these matches. They have a better team on paper but we will do our best to get a good result."