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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK
Sweden's conscience clear

By Paul Fletcher
Our man in Portugal

Olof Mellberg
Sweden captain Olof Mellberg says Italy only have themselves to blame for crashing out of Euro 2004.

His team's 2-2 draw with Denmark made Italy's win over Bulgaria meaningless.

The Italians finished level on points with Denmark and Sweden but went out because they scored the fewest goals in the games between the three sides.

"You always have it in your own hands from the start in these tournaments - and Italy haven't done well enough to go through," Mellberg told BBC Sport.

"The difference between success and failure is small and unfortunately for Italy this time they did not make it.

"There have been some tough games in a tough group.

"Normally a strong team like Bulgaria does well and the fact they got no points shows how hard it has been."

Mellberg also defended the manner in which Sweden and Denmark played out the last minute of their game.

After Mattias Jonson's late equaliser, Sweden played the ball along their back line with Denmark making no attempt to win it back.

"Maybe Denmark would have wanted to push forward because the score would have left them second in the group," he said.

"But we did not want to take any risks."

And Mellberg knows who he wants to play in the quarter-finals.

"Maybe it would be nice to play Latvia," he added.

"We lost to them in the last game of our qualification campaign so it would be good to get revenge for that."

Links to more Sweden stories



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