Disappointed Sweden coach Erik
Hamren said he could not fault his players after they were
eliminated from Euro 2012 following a thrilling 3-2 defeat by
England on Friday.
For the second game in a row Hamren's side threw away a
lead, allowing an England side inspired by substitute Theo
Walcott to recover from 2-1 down midway through the second half.
"I'm very proud of the players," the coach told a news
conference, adding that he as coach bore the lion's share of the
responsibility for the early exit.
"For the first goal we have to admire England, because
that's what they set out to do, use Carroll's game," he added.
"The second goal, we block and we're in the right place but
I think it touched Sebastian [Larsson] and changed direction.
With the third goal, we had England on the rack and I think they
could play the rest of their lives without scoring another one."
Hamren rejected suggestions that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had too
much influence in picking the team, and gave credit to forward
Johan Elmander, who ran tirelessly despite suffering a broken
foot less than five weeks ago.
"I'm the coach, and I pick the team. Of course I talk to my
captain, but if Johan had not been injured before the
championship he would be playing, but he wasn't ready. Mentally
he wasn't ready."
"In football, it's both the feet and the brain. Today
Elmander he showed he had the mental strength to do the job."
After a shaky performance against Ukraine, Olof Mellberg put
in a towering performance for Sweden, forcing Glen Johnson into
conceding an own goal before heading the Swedes in front.
"I think we're sad after today, especially the way we went
out, felt we deserved more," Mellberg said.
"We did better compared to the first game, but obviously
conceding five goals in two games is really disappointing,
without conceding too many chances. You can't afford that."
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