Not Peter Kay, sadly, but the Times’ Oliver Kay, who following Sweden’s 2-0 defeat of Greece writes, “If there was truly no hiding place on a football pitch, if those statistics that flash up at the final whistle were really the be-all and end-all, Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be out of a job.”
The Sweden striker™s figures last night would embarrass many a portly Sunday League player: less than 7km covered in 71 minutes on the pitch; 27 passes, 13 misplaced; two shots, one on target. But what a shot it was. Struck with venom from 25 yards after a quick exchange with Henrik Larsson, it flew into the top corner, breaking the famed resistance of a Greece team who had seemed intent on proving that they were every bit as dogged as they were four years ago, when, to the astonishment of a continent, they became European champions.
There have been times in recent years, not least against English opposition while playing in the Champions League, when Ibrahimovic has looked hugely overrated, but, for single-handedly transforming a game that was sorely lacking inspiration, the Inter Milan forward deserves commendation. He may have done nothing else to merit the man-of-the-match award, but goals win games and sometimes it takes something special to break down a mass defence.
EPL Talk‘s Paul Bestall isn’t merely impressed by Ibrahimovic’s performance, he’s downright relieved to have witnessed a Greek defeat, charging the defending European champions “offer nothing to the game and everything to the critics of football.”
Greece play a spoiler™s game, a game design to break football and make into a succession of long balls and set pieces, of cheap fouls and niggly play. Hell, I don™t know why they just don™t come on the pitch with a knife and puncture the ball.
They don™t play football, it™s a horrific, suffocating version of what we love, a cataclysmic abomination of the beautiful game. The only thing Greece want to do is not lose and that is a disgrace.
< Taking nothing away from Sweden's effort, but subsequent matches against Russia and Spain should be more of a challenge. Both of those sides will manage to suit up a goalkeeper under the age of 75.