Karl-Erik Nilsson spoke exclusively to Goal.com, hailing the massive travelling army of Scandinavian supporters and promising that the team will give their all to end with a win
The president of the Swedish Football Federation has promised his country's band of traveling supporters that the team's Euro 2012 participation will end on a high against France on Tuesday despite the early exit.
Defeats to Ukraine and England in the team's first two Group D fixtures have ensured that the Blagult cannot qualify for the quarterfinals, but Karl-Erik Nilsson has hailed the huge presence of Swedes in Kiev and assured them that the players will give their all for a positive result against Les Bleus at the Olympic Stadium.
"I can assure you that the Swedish team want to beat France, or at least have a very good match," Nilsson told Goal.com. "We will leave this championship in Kiev in very good spirit."
Nilsson was speaking on the grounds of Camp Sweden, a temporary home in Kiev for a large percentage of the nation's fans who have descended on the city over the past 10 days. There have also been visits from fans of other competing countries, with a friendly atmosphere being enjoyed throughout.
"Even if the Swedish football team is not the best in Europe, the Swedish supporters are in the top class of European football supporters," added Nilsson. "I think there are around 25,000 Swedish fans here, and they are creating a marvelous atmosphere in the camp, in the city, but of course also during the matches. We are really impressed.
“During these big events like the European Championship, fans can make friendships with supporters from all over Europe, and that’s another important thing: getting people together and using sport in this way.”
Despite the poor showing on the field, the former referee was keen to look positively at the experience of the Euro 2012 campaign, and he believes that Sweden was not far off pushing for qualification for the last eight.
“I’m not disappointed about the matches," he said. "Maybe the first half against Ukraine, but the game against England was great, and perhaps with a bit more luck we could have been more successful.”
Sweden ends its campaign against Group D leader France at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday night, with kickoff at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Follow GOAL.COM USA on