SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Sweden topped a group containing ousted world champions Germany so midfielder Albin Ekdal does not care about criticism that they are too defensive and dependent on long balls.
Some English reporters have dubbed Sweden’s style as boring but Ekdal, whose side must beat Switzerland in the last 16 to set up a possible quarter-final against England, who need to overcome Colombia, is not at all bothered by the critics.
“It’s not the most fun football to watch. English journalists say we’re boring, but who the hell cares?” he said at Sweden’s training base on the Black Sea coast.
Ekdal pointed to Sweden’s results, such as beating the Netherlands to second place in their qualifying group for the finals in Russia and eliminating Italy with a 1-0 aggregate playoff win, as evidence of the success of their methods.
“We almost got a draw with the world champions (Germany, who scored an added time winner) and we beat Mexico 3-0. I don’t think we’re going to change too much against Switzerland. We’re best at maximising (our resources),” he said.
“We can’t compete with France or Spain when it comes to skill on the ball, but luckily football is not decided by ‘tiki-taka’ passes,” added the 28-year-old.
Sweden take on Switzerland on Tuesday in St Petersburg before England clash with Colombia in Moscow.
Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris