Svenska Dagbladet's Ola Billger has told Goal.com that his actions were not malicious, after he watched the Three Lions go through their pre-match preparations in their team hotel
The Swedish journalist who managed to watch a large portion of an England pre-match tactical briefing has defended his actions.
Ola Billger, a writer for Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, has told Goal.com that the opportunity arose simply as a result of good fortune, and he did what any good journalist would have done.
English newspaper The Sun revealed on Monday that Billger had 'spied' on Roy Hodgson's tactics session ahead of Friday night's 3-2 victory over Sweden in Kiev, but the reporter has explained that he was simply being opportunistic and did not pass on his findings to the Swedish team camp.
“I think spying is a really harsh word. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse, about 45 minutes, of the England coach's tactical briefing," Billger told Goal.com.
"I was on the third floor, they were on the first floor. There was a window and a skylight between us, and a pretty big screen. There was not spying, I was looking out of the window and I saw the England slideshow. I’m a reporter … what do I do? I report. So there was no spying in that sense. It was a good 45 minutes, good fun, good news of course, and a brilliant story.”
The Sun claimed that there were also suggestions a second person had listened in on the briefing, but Billger denied any knowledge of any other presence.
“Not from us anyway. I’m not convinced that’s true. I know what I saw, I know what I did, I know what I wrote. I did not hear anything, I wasn’t tipped off, I would not spy, I just did my job, and it was a hell of a job.”
Sweden overturned a one-goal deficit scoring twice from free kicks before Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck turned the game on its head, but Billger says the Swedish tactics were not a result of any intervention on his part.
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"We work for the readers, so we would have published the story with or without a comment from the Swedish camp," he explained. "We called the Swedish camp to get a comment on what we had seen, we did not call them to brief them, that’s their job. They get paid to do their own homework. We get paid to do stories, and we phoned them to get quotes on the story.”Billger was eventually prevented from watching the end of the briefing when a blanket was put over the first-floor skylight.
“They covered up the skylight, but then 45 minutes had gone. We’d seen the set-pieces, we’d seen the English attacking corners from left to right, the floating, the driven," he continued.
"We’d seen the free kicks, we’d seen most of the line-up, we’d seen what they were supposed to do on Sweden’s attacking corners, which player was meant to mark which Swedish player.
"That’s probably the most interesting part of the whole briefing because what you do on attacking corners is not rocket science, and what you do on defensive corners is not rocket science. Frankly, if the Swedes hadn’t figured this one out anyway they hadn’t been doing their homework properly."