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Monday, 10 June, 2002, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Brolin backs Sweden to win
Thomas Brolin first came to prominence at the 1990 World Cup
Brolin first came to prominence at the 1990 World Cup

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If the mood in England is bouyant after victory over Argentina on Friday, the atmosphere in Sweden, home of the Group F leaders, is equally upbeat.

Half the Swedish population of eight million watched the win over Nigeria on Friday.

Open Quote
The main thing is that Sweden get a point - but it's dangerous to go out thinking you just need a draw
Close Quote
Thomas Brolin

The pubs got a special dispensation to serve alcohol early in the morning just before the tournament began and it has been carnical time evre since.

The beer is now as free-flowing as the football practised by Fredrik Ljungberg and his team-mates.

Thomas Brolin, one of the heroes of the World Cup in the United States eight years ago, believes Sweden can beat Argentina and perhaps equal the third-place finish of 94.

"But for that to happen, Anders Svensson has to start the match," the former Leeds United star said.

It was Svensson's introduction as a second-half substitute that did much to turn the tide against England.

Thomas Brolin was a major factor in Sweden finishing third in 1994
Brolin was a major factor in Sweden finishing third in 1994

"The main thing is that Sweden get a point," Brolin told the TT news agency. But it's dangerous to go out on the field thinking you just need to manage a draw.

"We need to attack like we did against Nigeria."

Jonas Thern, now a coach in the Swedish Allsvenskan, also thinks Sweden can get three points in their last group match.

However, he doubts whether the current Sweden team can progress as far as the team of 94.

"That would take a lot," Thern said. "The whole team would have to be at the top of their form - and it wouldn't hurt if somebody stood out like Brolin did in the USA.

"Ljungberg, Svensson and Henrik Larsson are very skilful players, but they are not of the same calibre as the Brolin of eight years ago."

The public are buoyant and the newspaper columnists have revised their doom and gloom pre-tournament predictions.

"Sweden have one point more than Argentina and another psychological advantage: they are on a positive run," the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper says.

"It looked bad in the friendlies in the spring, but the last three halves have given Swedish football a new and pretty fearsome look."

Another national newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, lists seven reasons why Sweden will defeat Argentina and then writes:

"It has been a strange journey from the mediocre friendly against Japan 15 days ago, via the promising World Cup opener against England a week ago to the sometimes brilliant match against Nigeria."

However, the same newspaper curiously teaches its readers how to say "Quit, Lars and Tommy" in Japanese and Korean on its website.


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 SQUAD PROFILES
GROUP F
  P GD PTS
SWEDEN 3 +1 5
ENGLAND 3 +1 5
ARGENTINA 3 0 4
NIGERIA 3 -2 1




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