Sweden coach sees glass half-empty after fortunate draw
By Patrick Vignal
PARIS (Reuters) - Sweden coach Erik Hamren did not hide his disappointment after his side needed an Irish own goal to share the points with a 1-1 draw from their Euro 2016 Group E opener on Monday.
"The feeling right now is disappointment rather than relief for having been able to come back for a draw", Hamren, whose men failed to produce a single shot on target, told a news conference.
The Swedes, with their emblematic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic looking lost on the pitch, were toothless until Ireland centre back Ciaran Clark netted a cross by Ibrahimovic into his own net on 71 minutes.
Trailing 1-0 since a superb half-volley by Wes Hoolahan early in the second half, Sweden woke up only in the last half hour and did their chances of surviving a tough group also featuring Belgium and Italy no favour.
"We’re definitely not happy with our first 50 minutes," Hamren said. "Our attack was simply not good enough and really bad in the first half."
The Sweden coach was, however, careful not to blame Ibrahimovic, who has spent the last four years banging in goals in the French capital for Ligue 1 side Paris Saint Germain but is now leaving them on a free transfer.
"Forwards need support and in the first 50 minutes our forwards didn’t have much to work with", Hamren said. "Ireland did well protecting their area and keeping him (Ibrahimovic) away from that goal. Then we had some opportunities, and he was involved in the goal that we scored."
Sweden, eager to bounce back after a dismal showing at the previous European championship four years ago, did play better in the last 30 minutes but still failed to thrill their coach.
"We didn’t lose but we didn’t play the way we should have done," said Hamren, whose side's next game is against Italy on Friday in Toulouse.
(Editing by Julien Pretot)