Majestic Ibrahimovic leaves Euros with his head held high

The AC Milan striker dragged his side through losses to Ukraine and England but was let down by his team-mates as Erik Hamren's men became the second team to exit Euro 2012
 Svend Bertil Frandsen
 Sweden Expert Follow on


Zlatan Ibrahimovic has often been accused by his critics for failing to shine when push comes to shove on the international scene, but there can be no doubt that it was his team-mates who dragged him down as Sweden were sent crashing out of Euro 2012 by England.

After scoring against Ukraine, Ibrahimovic also revealed his tremendous potential against England, pushing his team forward in difficult circumstances. He often found himself holding off up to four defenders to create space for his team-mates, who struggled to support him whenever the Swedes counter-attacked.

Total shots (on target)
Pass accuracy
Chances created
Duels (won/lost)
6 (4)
More match centre stats here

Ibrahimovic was left to create miracles on his own up front, and Sweden are now rightfully out of the Euros. One man cannot carry 10 others, and the simple truth is that Sweden had the worst defence in the tournament and a midfield very short of pace and creativity.

When Andy Carroll put England ahead in the 23rd minute, it was the eighth time in the last nine matches that Sweden had conceded a goal from a header, a statistic underlining the problems Erik Hamren has faced while constructing his back line.

Hamren will certainly have to take his share of the blame for the disappointing exit. He aimed to revolutionise Sweden into a much more attack-minded team than had been seen under predecessor Lars Lagerback.

The current boss demanded that Sweden dominate possession, but the tournament proved that the squad lack the technical quality to control a game against good opposition. The midfield didn't have the talent or craft to support Ibrahimovic and Markus Rosenberg (against Ukraine) and Johan Elmander (versus England), and the Milan star suffered massively as a result.

The Swedes were left to put all their eggs in Ibrahimovic's basket. But despite providing plenty of examples of why he is one of the best players in the world, not even the powerful striker's enormous talent could rescue Sweden from crashing out of Euro 2012.