Andersson: Sweden embracing big occasion as bug sweeps through team

Janne Andersson revealed three players are struggling with illness as Sweden tries to upstage Germany and qualify for the World Cup last 16.

Sweden head coach Janne Andersson   -  Getty Images

A bug is sweeping through the Sweden camp, but head coach Janne Andersson is not too concerned as his team stands on the cusp of something momentous against under-fire World Cup holder Germany.

Sweden arrived in Sochi on Friday without three players due to a stomach bug after Andersson confirmed the absence of defenders Pontus Jansson, Filip Helander and midfielder Marcus Rohden. 

Manchester United's Victor Lindelof also missed the 1-0 Group F victory over South Korea through illness though he is expected to be fit for Saturday's showdown, which could see Sweden qualify for the next round and Germany eliminated.

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Andersson opened his news conference by reading a statement, telling reporters: "We have four players who won't be training today. [Forward] Isaac Kiese Thelin strained his ankle slightly. He's not ready to train."

"We have three players who felt unwell to the stomach last night. So, for security reasons, we decided to split the trip and not bring them on board because we haven't identified why they felt sick. We expect them to arrive tomorrow instead."

"You can't be annoyed with poor people who have stomach pains. It just happens. Lindelof, we handled it in an excelled way. Sometimes, people fall injured too. I'm not annoyed. I would've preferred everyone 100 per cent," Andersson added.

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Sweden – which has not reached the round of 16 since 2006 – is on the verge of qualifying for the knockout phase – and a win would condemn Germany to a remarkable premature exit from the showpiece tournament.

"This is really what you spend entire life towards. Not enjoying it because it's a tough job. We're going to make the most of it," Andersson said.

"Extraordinary to be involved in this and a match of this magnitude. Whether we knock them out is one thing, but we can qualify on our own which is quite extraordinary."

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Andreas Granqvist, who scored the VAR-inspired penalty to sink South Korea 1-0, joined Andersson on the podium and basked in the scenario facing Sweden.

While acknowledging Germany's superiority, on paper anyway, the veteran centre-back said:  "It's quite amazing. Germany were the big favourites ahead of the World Cup and we would be able to beat them, so they wouldn't qualify for the next stage not many people would've imagined that."

"They've played a lot of Champions League matches and World Cup finals, etc, but we have played together for a two-year period," Granqvist continued.

"We've seen excelled results against better ranked teams. We're well abled to win these matches. They have a better team on paper but we will do our best to get a good result."

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