Coach Janne Andersson of Sweden refused on Saturday to blame his side after their 0-2 loss in the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Samara in Russia.
The coach rather said his team was just not good enough to beat their opponents, England, stating that his players tried their best “to even reach the competition’s last eight stage”.
“We weren’t just good enough to win the game. England are a strong team, especially at set-pieces.
“We even prepared for it, but unfortunately we got caught in one of them.
“Until that corner kick by Ashley Young which gave them the chance to take the lead, we were doing well and had the match under control.
“We even had the opportunity after the break to draw level, but we failed to do so.
“But, we did well overall, because it is not easy to even get to this stage.
“Altogether, we have had a good tournament; that is something to take back home,’’ he said at post-match media conference.
Andersson refused to blame the team’s Al Ain striker, Marcus Berg, who was at the receiving end of blame for the team’s lacklustre performance upfront.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the UAE-based player was in the team’s four matches before Saturday, but failed to score a goal.
“He tried his best, and I am pleased with his contributions to our game. He faced tough opposition in the English defenders,’’ the coach said.
On his future with the national team, Andersson said he was not worried at all because he had a contract with an option of an extension.
“I am not concerned about that now. I have an option of signing a new contract for two years before me. So, I am not worried at all now,’’ he said.
NAN reports that this year’s performance was Sweden’s best since 1994 when they finished third in the U.S.
They were second round losers in 2002 and 2006, and did not even qualify for the finals in 1998, 2010 and 2014.