Euro 2016 : 5 things we learnt from Sweden vs Belgium
Sweden faced Belgium in a must win game in the final group game against Belgium , a game which was dull overall but was decided from a brilliant strike from Radja Nainggolan in the second half. The game proved to the last ever in a Sweden shirt for legendary striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Here are 5 things we learnt from Sweden vs Belgium.
1 Belgium have hit their form
Belgium started the tournament with a disappointing 2-0 defeat to the Italians but have since responded well, winning 3-0 against Ireland and now edging oud 1-0 to Belgium. Marc Wilmot’s side have found their form at the right time heading into the knockout rounds.
2 Zlatan will be missed
Zlatan Ibrahimovic retires having scored 62 goals in 116 appearances for the national team. The outspoken striker has been a talisman for the Swedish team and has some brilliant goals over the past, most notably an overhead kick against England. This was a disappointing tournament for Zlatan himself having failed to score as Sweden did not score a single goal in their 3 games. He will be hard to replace for the national team , and now Sweden must begin life without Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
3 Sweden need to rebuild
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s retirement may soon be followed by Kim Kallstrom and Andreas Isaksson , both of them have been influential for the national team for several years now , and are at a stage in their careers where they may feel that the national team is no longer part of their plans. Sweden need new young blood in their strides , it will be a long process but they need to start now planning ahead for future tournaments
4 Belgium face a tricky tie
Belgium will now face Hungary in the round of 16 , who topped their group ahead of Portugal , Iceland and Austria. This will surely be Belgium’s biggest test till date as Hungary will be full of confidence following their recent exploits.
5 Belgium’s stars still need time to play as a team
Even though Belgium’s current crop is their best ever, they still do not play to their full potential, maybe they need some time to develop and mature. The current Belgian squad can be compared to the current Argentinian squad filled with gifted players, the Argentina team struggled in their early years together before hitting their fierce form which saw them play 3 finals in a row , maybe we can expect great things from this Belgium side in the future.
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