NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (Reuters) - Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist insisted a goal drought in their warm-up matches would have no impact on their World Cup campaign as they prepare to play their first Group F game against South Korea on Monday.
Since upsetting Italy in November’s playoffs, Sweden have scored once in four games and go into Monday’s match at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium without a goal in more than five hours of play.
“These were friendlies which are different to a World Cup game. Some of the teams we played against were ranked top 15 in the world and they didn’t allow us many chances to score from but neither did we allow them to get many chances,” Granqvist said.
Sweden lost 2-1 at home to Chile and 1-0 in Romania in March and this month played out a goalless draws at home against fellow World Cup finalists Denmark and Peru.
“We have strikers who are quite capable of scoring, we have others who are very important to our attacking game and I hope we have kept all of that for tomorrow and we score lots of goals,” Granqvist said.
Sweden scored in all but one of their 10 qualifiers to finish behind France and ahead of the Netherlands in the standings, before going on to beat the Italians 1-0 over two legs in the playoffs.
“We’ve worked more on our attacking game in the last few days but scoring will also depend on what our opponents allow us to do, how we set up our chances and how we finish,” coach Janne Andersson said.
“We haven’t had much variation in the past few matches and didn’t create very much going forward but I hope we are able to progress on from that.”
Editing by Ed Osmond