PARIS: Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he was under pressure to perform well in Sweden’s opening match against Ireland at the Stade de France on Monday but that the greatest pressure came from himself.
Flanked by Sweden coach Erik Hamren, the 34-year-old captain fielded the lion’s share of the questions at Sunday’s media conference and said he was looking forward to getting involved in the tournament.
“I have the greatest share of the pressure, and it comes from myself,” he told reporters. “The others can sit back, they can go on to the field and do their best. I am going to take the pressure off them.”
Drawn with Belgium and Italy in Group E, the Swedes will be looking for a win in their opening game against the Irish which would give them a good chance of qualifying for the knock out stages.
“We are not here to see others play football; we are going to do all we can to qualify,” he told reporters.
Hamren said that his side had no injury worries ahead of the clash and that the full squad had taken part in all the training sessions since arriving in France last Wednesday.
Set to leave Paris on a free transfer this summer after four trophy-laden years at Paris Saint Germain, Ibrahimovic arrived in the French capital on Sunday hoping to help the Swedes do better than they did at Euro 2012, when they went home after the group stage.
“We want a good start and a good result tomor row,” Ibrahimovic said. “My goal is to enjoy it and do as well as I can.
“I feel strong, I have a good season behind me and hopefully I can take that with me (into the tournament).”
9: 30pm, Ireland v Sweden, live on Sony Six, HD, Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD.