Having had their landing delayed by
thunder and lightning on Wednesday, the Swedish Euro 2012 squad
are finally settling in to their isolated luxury base on the
outskirts of Kiev.
Erik Hamren's team trained on Thursday before inviting the
media to visit their plush hotel, where they are preparing to
face Ukraine, England and France in Group D.
"It's been a long road here, but now we're finally getting
down to business," team vice-captain Anders Svensson told
Reuters, adding that he would be reading "everything but the
sports pages" to pass the time.
Asked if he would he be tempted to read up on England, where
he played for Southampton in the Premier League, the 126-cap
"Of course not. Why would I do that?"
Amid tennis courts and swimming pools, imported Swedish
coffee and a raft of computer games, there is no shortage of
entertainment for the Swedes.
There is every feature one could expect from a top-class
modern hotel and having booked every room in the complex, the
Swedes have it all to themselves.
Hamren's side will remain here for the duration of the
group, with all their games being played at Kiev's Olympic
Stadium, starting against the hosts on June 11.
"I'm delighted that all our games are here," defender Jonas
Olsson told Reuters, looking away to the tennis courts where the
loud whoops of his team mates indicated a game was underway.
"If you can avoid any pointless travelling during a
tournament, it's much better. England will have to fly in here,
and I wouldn't like to be in their place."
Olsson looks like he may start the tournament on the bench
as Hamren goes with Olof Mellberg and Andreas Granqvist as his
But the defender, who plays for West Bromwich Albion in
England's Premier League, said he would be happy to give his
team-mates some tips on how to handle the likes of Danny Welbeck
and Andy Carroll.
"Obviously, having played against the English forwards
during the season, I can share a few of their strengths and
weaknesses," he said.
England will fly in from their base in Poland for the June
15 game with the Swedes, who then round off the group stage
As reporters left the Swedish players to their relaxation,
the sound of bowling pins falling and table tennis balls
bouncing could be heard through the open doors of the complex.
But behind the relaxed demeanour, the Swedes are getting
Or, as Svensson put it: "Now is the time - we're ready."
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