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Sweden goalkeeper: Zlatan World Cup call-up could disturb chemistry


Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists it wouldn’t be a World Cup without his presence, but one of his potential teammates has his doubts about the LA Galaxy star’s inclusion.

Sweden goalkeeper  Karl-Johan Johnsson says the style has changed a great deal since Ibrahimovic’s retirement form the international game. Without the striker, Sweden has adopted a more team-centric approach while, before, Ibrahimovic dominated as “an individualist”.

Because of that, Johnsson, Sweden’s backup goalkeeper, has his concerns heading into the World Cup.

“It’s up to the coach to see if he wants to bring him,” the Guingamp goalkeeper told Main Oppose. “We managed to qualify and go through to the World Cup without him, and I think we can manage to play well at the World Cup without him. But as I said, it’s up to the coach to decide if he wants him to join, and I’m sure if he does get called up, he will play well.

“As a team, we play as a group, all the players together. With Zlatan, as a person, as a player he’s an individualist, and the play goes around him. Instead, now, we play more the team all together.

“It’s a different style of play when you have a player like Zlatan, Cristiano [Ronaldo] or [Lionel] Messi in your team, because they’re world-class players, and you have to use those players to win the game and play in a special way. I don’t know if the coach wants such a big change, because he’ll have to change the whole system of how he wants to play.”

Over the past few weeks, Ibrahimovic has stated several times that he plans on going to the World Cup, with his most recent declaration coming on Jimmy Kimmel Live.


  1. “Sweden has adopted a more team-centric approach while, before, Ibrahimovic dominated as “an individualist”

    ……and a backup Swedish goalkeeper, that WILL be watching most of the WC from the bench, that plays for an 11th place team in Ligue 1, is trying to matter why? Exactly

    • because he’ll be at the world cup and he has been part of his team’s qualifying and preparation. He is an insider and his opinion is far more informed than a fan’s.

  2. so did zlatan retire from international football? so then how/why does he plan on going to the world cup?

  3. Keeper must have a wedding to go to during the second round.

    Sweden is in a group with Mexico and Germany, with a South Korea kicker. This isn’t finishing second in your group of teams that have never done anything in the WCup.

      • My point is the keeper saying the qualified is not relevant. They wouldn’t have with Mexico and Germany in their group. Now add South Korea.

        If Zlatan says he will play for you, you don’t say, let’s not break the chemistry of our 1-0 win of Luxemburg, even if you did beat then 8-0 too.

    • Or, he really believes their chances are better without him. He gave some very compelling reasons but what does he know? He probably doesn’t’ even follow mls at all.

    • Mexico and Costa Rica got crappy draws.

      Group F: Germany is going to advance, and there is no clear cut 2nd place between Sweden, Mexico and South Korea.

      Group E – Costa Rica is in Brazil’s group (has Brazil ever lost a group stage game), with Switzerland and Serbia.

      Even if Mexico and CR get out of the group, their knock-out game is against the winner of the other group i.e, most likely Mexico v. Brazil and CR v. Germany. Unfortunately, Russia 2018 is going to be a tournament where CONCACAF sucks.

      • I think Mexico is better than Sweden without Zlatan. With Zlatan, Mexico would have trouble because of his physical dominance in the box. South Korea has been building a good team and could also give Mexico a lot of trouble. Their striker Son, who plays for Tottenham could be better than any striker in CONCACAF.

      • I remember Brazil losing to Norway in the last ’98 group stage game. Interestingly, Brazil has never beaten Norway on the senior level in four tries.

    • I don’t know – if I were the men’s national team coach – i would probably take Donovan to Brazil. You don’t know when you need a crazy goal to beat Belgium in a knock-out round. What are you going to do, put in Wondolowski?

      • this comment from you is silly, midwestref. younger fans may not remember, but donovan was our captain and our all time leading scorer in international games (and not retired) whereas wando (like twellman) never proved himself in the international game (no offense). whereas donovan was our core, wando was always on the fringe. there is nothing to compare there.

      • Two Cents – My comment is intended to be humorous, but also to compare bringing back Zlatan to Sweden for WC 2018 with bringing Donovan back to the USMNT for Brazil 2014.

        Donovan had left the USMNT for a couple years – maybe 1 to “find himself”. He then made himself available to the USMNT, but for some reason, Klinnsman chose not to take him to Brazil. Instead of having Donovan available, Klinnsman had Wondolowski who missed a sitter in extra time against Belgium.

        My comparative post is spot on. I am not comparing Wondolowsi to Zlatan, I am not even comparing Donovan with Zlatan. I am comparing Zlatan for Sweden with Donovan for the US.

    • The question then would be: Who would he be displacing? It would most likely be another offensive player, a position Sweden in prior years always had depth in, but more recently seemed to be lacking.

      If Zlatan were to be included, it’s something the Swedish coach would have to look at, It’s his decision, not the backup-goalkeeper, and good coaches go for form over reputation, so if Zlatan does not perform well, its not a difficult decision, but if Zlatan does well, he will have a choice to make. But its still not a difficult one.
      Klinsmann named Jermain Jones and Green ahead of Donovan, and while they performed well in the ’14WC. Few know why he did that. Surely Klinsmann did not replace Donovan for Jones for team chemistry, or form. Donovan was the leading scorer for the US in the ’13 Gold Cup, and Julian Green had yet to play a Division 1 League football game. Jermain Jones was not real popular among more than a few coaches and players. Landon Donovan was a US football legend.


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