Swedish press slate Lagerback's 'oldies'
Sweden coach Lars Lagerback became the country's public enemy number one on Thursday following his ageing side's exit from UEFA EURO 2008.
Sweden began the campaign with a victory over Greece, but following a 2-1 reverse to Spain they finally ran out of steam against a Russia side in need of a win to secure their ticket out of the group stages and into the quarter-finals.
"Swedish football has no future with Lagerback," and "Lagerback must go," were some of the headlines in the Scandinavian country a day after Sweden's 2-0 defeat to Russia at Innsbruck, Austria on Wednesday.
"The ride lasted for 90 minutes, and when it was over, the Swedes stumbled out, dizzy, surprised, debased and humiliated," the Expressen daily wrote, blasting Lagerback for choosing older, familiar players for the tournament.
"For Lagerback, the best team will always be made up of players who are closer to retirement age than driver license age," added the report.
"For Sweden, the good years are over," said a report in the respected Dagens Nyheter newspaper, describing the team as "the EURO's oldies but not goodies."
That report however laid most of the blame for Sweden's exit on Lagerback's defensive strategy, pointing out that it was older, experienced players who had helped Sweden win the (2006) Olympic gold in ice hockey.
"Lars Lagerback's greatest mistake was that he could not stop the players from believing they had a world-class team just because they had Zlatan Ibrahimovic on board... But without good organisation, a disciplined defense and flawless concentration Sweden can go nowhere," added the report.
The Svenska Dagbladet daily meanwhile compared the Swedish team to extras standing idly by as the Russians provided all the action.
"The people's verdict will be harsh. Many of the players looked old and tired," the paper wrote. "Is Lars Lagerbaeck really the right man to take responsibility for an inevitable changing of the guards?"
Ironically, Sweden's next match will be an 20 August game against France, which exited the championships after a 2-0 defeat to arch-rivals Italy.