Ibra and Sweden firing blanks: no shots on goal in 180 mins
Sweden's only shot on target so far at Euro 2016 was Ireland's own goal. They will have to beat Belgium to have any chance of the last 16.
All eyes were on Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic ahead of the European Championship, which is likely to be the striker’s last major tournament. However, the former PSG, Milan, Inter, Barcelona, Ajax, Juventus and Malmö player is failing in his mission to fire Sweden into the last 16, albeit with scant assistance from his teammates. With the second round of group games complete, Sweden have failed to register a single shot on target in 180 minutes of football against Ireland and Italy. The side’s only goal at Euro 2016 was turned into Ireland’s net by Ciaran Clark. Not even the presence of the imposing Ibrahimovic is intimidating Sweden’s Group E rivals.
There are suspicions in Sweden – and plenty of criticism in the press -- that the striker, who banged in 50 goals in 51 games for PSG last season, is not fully focused on the tournament as rumours persist about his next destination at club level; rumours that Ibrahimovic was happy to fuel in the run-up to Euro 2016.
Ibrahimovic arrived in France on the back of his most prolific season to date, despite his eye-catching returns of 30, 28, 26 and 25 in Serie A with Juve, Inter and AC Milan. For his national side, the striker has netted 62 in 115 games.
However, so far at the Euros he has not been in the sort of form necessary to help his side into the knock-out stages for the first time since 2004. Sweden have one final chance to address the situation against Belgium in Nice on Wednesday. But Erik Hamrén’s side will have to more clinical to get past the Red Devils. So far in France Sweden have had 11 shots, but none have required the intervention of a goalkeeper.