Zlatan vents anger during Euro 2012 defeat

Swedish star footballer Zlatan was at the centre of a series of fracas in the Swedish dressing room on a turbulent night for Erik Hamren's side during its Euro 2012 opener in Kiev on Monday night.

Zlatan vents anger during Euro 2012 defeat

A heated altercation is said to have taken place between Sweden’s captain Ibrahimovic and his first-half strike partner Markus Rosenberg.

Rosenberg has failed to score for his national side in five years, dating back to 2007, and was only drafted into the squad as a replacement for the more fancied John Guidetti, who was deemed unfit.

“We talked about our need to play better football,” Rosenberg said after the match, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“There were too many long balls and the midfield did not come to support us up front enough. It was almost two of us against five [Ukrainian defenders].”

Much criticism has come in for the Swedish team’s tactical set-up in last night’s game, with Erik Hamren’s so-called attacking philosophy that he had promised seemingly abandoned in favour of a negative, counter-attacking style.

“Zlatan would go to the ball and try to spread the play and I would get it right, but there was an ocean between the second and me and Zlatan,” a disconsolate Rosenberg added.

“There were too many long balls. It is not our way of playing football.”

The Werder Bremen striker insisted his crossed words with Ibrahimovic at the break were merely a footballing discussion, rather than a heated exchange.

“We are both from Malmö. It may look like we were arguing, but there is no problem,” he said.

Ibrahimovic went on to have words with coach Marcus Allbäck on the touchline following the final whistle, appearing increasingly animated at his frustration with his teammates.

“I spoke with all the players following the game, Zlatan was just one of them,” Allbäck insisted, according to Aftonbladet.

“I will not be telling the press what we discussed, but it’s clear that it was heated. There were situations we discussed. He asked how we experienced these different situations, it was common talk.”

Ibrahimovic was brief in his post-match comments, clearly frustrated at the lack of support he felt the rest of his team offered him. Indeed, his reaction to Johan Elmander’s miss in the final few moments of the game was a look of daggers at his teammate.

“There is nothing good about losing the first match,” Ibrahimovic said in his press conference.

“Luckily we have two matches left in which I hope we do better than today. The first half was not as we usually play. In other periods, it was much better, we created more chances. I had a good first and felt in good nick. We were 1-0 up, but two goals against us lost the game.”

Head coach Hamren had a more reflective outlook on the game at the final whistle.

“The two teams were nervous at the start. Then we started the second half

well and scored. But unfortunately they soon levelled.

“The last 20 minutes we had nothing to lose and played well,” Hamren said, according to the AFP news agency.

“I think a draw would have been a fair result as we had our chances.

“We knew how they would play and it was our performance which was not up to

scratch. You need eleven players right on their game and we only had five or

six in the first half,” said the 54-year-old – who has been in the post

since 2009.

“We knew the crosses would come in – and we were up against a super player in Shevchenko. Technically and tactically we didn’t cut it. We should have scored with the good chances we had at the end.”

Sweden must now take points off England in their second Group D game on Friday to salvage any hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Joe Lynskey/AFP

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Germany to support defence of Polish airspace

Germany on Monday said it had reached an agreement to help Poland protect its skies following a deadly rocket strike close to the border with Ukraine.

Germany to support defence of Polish airspace

Berlin would “send Patriot anti-aircraft systems to Poland and support the securing of Polish airspace with Eurofighter (jets)”, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Germany to buy F-35 fighter jets in military shopping spree

Two people were killed last week when a missile landed in the Polish village of Przewodow, six kilometres (four miles) from the Ukrainian border.

Warsaw and NATO have said the explosion was likely caused by a Ukrainian air-defence missile launched to intercept a Russian barrage, but that Moscow was ultimately to blame because it started the conflict.

Before the deal was agreed, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said he “welcomed the German proposal with satisfaction”.

Blaszczak said on Twitter he would propose for the systems to be “stationed close to the border with Ukraine”.

Germany has already sent Patriot anti-aircraft units to Slovakia, where Berlin hopes to keep them deployed for longer than currently planned.

The air-defence systems should remain in Slovakia “until the end of 2023 and potentially even beyond”, Lambrecht told the Rheinische Post daily.

“It is our utmost responsibility that NATO does not become a participant in this conflict,” while strengthening its air defences, she said.

READ ALSO: Germany and Spain to train Ukraine troops under EU programme