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Belgium hoping to push Ibrahimovic off the stage

Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Sweden Training - Allianz Riviera Stadium - Nice, France - 21/6/16 - Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic during training. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Sweden Training - Allianz Riviera Stadium - Nice, France - 21/6/16 - Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic during training. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

By Brian Homewood

NICE, France (Reuters) - Belgium have no room for sentiment and are hoping that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will play his last game for Sweden when he faces them at Euro 2016 on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic will bring the curtain down on his Sweden career after their last game at the tournament -- which will be on Wednesday if they lose to the Belgians.

For their own part, Belgium need a draw to guarantee a top-two finish in Group E behind Italy.

"I have lots of respect for Zlatan as a player but hopefully it will be his last game tomorrow for Sweden," Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen told reporters. "He's had a big career but I am going to be selfish tomorrow.

"It's the last chance for Sweden as well, so hopefully they will try everything and that might be to our advantage."

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots remembered his own final international match, against Brazil in the 2002 World Cup, as he warned how it would galvanise Ibrahimovic who has had a disappointing tournament so far.

"I can talk about my own experience," said Wilmots, who won 70 caps as an attacking midfielder.

"Before the World Cup, I had announced it would be my last for Belgium. I was sprinting with 10 minutes to go against Brazil because you want to try and end on a positive chapter.

"It's great that we know that he is retiring because we know he's going to go all the way. If we think it's going to be easy, we are going to take a slap in the face."

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)

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