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Sweden tight-lipped on Ibrahimovic readiness for key Spain qualifier

Published: Updated:

Sweden are staying mum on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s readiness for their decisive World Cup qualifier against Spain on Sunday, with manager Janne Andersson dismissing all questions regarding his availability and physical condition.

Sweden must beat Spain in Seville to qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 while a draw would be enough for the Spanish to progress. The runners-up will head to the playoffs in March.

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Striker Ibrahimovic played another full 90 minutes in Thursday’s 2-0 defeat by Georgia in Group B after featuring for AC Milan against Inter Milan in Serie A last weekend.

“Will see on Sunday how he feels but I have a pretty good idea already, although I won’t reveal it here because it could be a tactical advantage to our opponent,” Andersson told a news conference on Saturday.

A third start in a week might be taking a chance given the 40-year-old Ibrahimovic’s recent injury problems, which have seen him miss half of Milan’s games so far this season.

“His mindset is like always. He is here and 100% with his team. There is no communication whatsoever with Milan about how we should use him or not. If he is fit to play, he will play,” Andersson added.

Asked if Zlatan would accept being left on the bench for such a decisive game given his competitive nature, Andersson said: “I don’t know how it is in other teams (but) in Sweden I’m the one who decides who plays or not.”

After Sweden’s surprise 2-0 defeat nL1N2S2248 in Georgia, Spain lead Group B with 16 points, one point ahead of the Swedes who they host on Sunday in their final group match.

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