LINUS LINDAHL / AIPS* in ABU DHABI: Sweden found defeat in the semi-final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 hard to handle but now they are ready to bounce back against Argentina and go home with a bronze medal.
Forward Valmir Berisham, reflecting on the aftermath of the 3-0 semi-final defeat by Nigeria, said: “There was not so much talking in our room. Me and Genta (Gentrit Citaku) just laid silent in our beds most of the night day until we went to sleep.”
Now Berisha and his teammates have a chance of a consolation prize against an Argentina side who have both goalkeeper Augusto Batalla and Joaquin Ibanez suspended.
Berisha is not worried about that his team will have problems in reviving and fighting for a medal in their first U-17 World Cup. He said: “Today it feels much better. The others look more happy now and that makes me glad. I cannot go around and feel sad now, we have a bronze match ahead.”
Win or lose the Swedish team are going back early Saturday morning after one last match with coach Roland Larsson. The players are moving up to the next age level. Larsson will still coach the national team for players born in 1998, but he does not know for how long. The end of December sees the expiry of his contract with the Swedish Football Association and they have not started to discuss an extension yet.
He said: ”I have not really got an offer to continue. We have one-year-contracts and I think the association maybe want to wait until we are back home. But I do not know, I have some opportunities but I have not been thinking so much about it.”
Talking about the end of working with these players he added: “It feels a bit sad of course because it is a fantastic group of players. You have got to know many of them and to have developed a group that has become this good is extremely exciting
“Now I hope we can keep on fighting and show the spectators here and at home that this is a team who take their chances, who enjoy playing matches and who never give up. It would be fantastic if we won.”
* AIPS, the international sports journalists association, is running a Young Reporters course at the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 with the support of the local organising committee and FIFA
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