STOCKHOLM, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 10th Nov, 2016 ) : The show must go on for Sweden as its national football team is set to face France in Paris on Friday without its superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. "There is a future after Zlatan," Sweden's sports minister Gabriel Wikstrom told AFP. "I am sure there will be new fantastic football players from Sweden. We've had them before." After a dismal showing at Euro-2016, Sweden's all-time high scorer in June put an end to his 116-cap international career, in which he has scored 62 goals, leaving big football cleats to fill.
The Swedes are now turning the page to begin the post-Zlatan era, leaving the national team to launch not only a new line of attack but a rejigged team after the retirement of other key players. Wikstrom said this would pave the way for more team work following "Zlatan's domination of Swedish sports". "We have a team with cooperation," Wikstrom said. "The point is that (we) stand together ... the team will be able to perform better." Sweden's draw with the Netherlands (1-1), a narrow but important victory against Luxembourg (1-0) and a strong showing against Bulgaria (3-0) gave the impression that the national team is growing well, keeping it safe from criticism.
For Ibrahimovic, Sweden is no longer a place to play football, but he could come to the annual football awards on November 21, where a tribute to his international career is in the making. He could then win the prestigious National Golden Ball award for the 11th time. The yellow and blue team cannot afford the luxury of nostalgia, as it faces a tough game in France on Friday.