International Friendly: Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic Fails to Impress Against Turkey

By Aydin Reyhan
Ibrahimovic Mentally Off his Game
Getty Images

Turkey hosted Sweden in an international friendly that started out exciting as both sides wanted to get off to the quick start. However, it was the hosts who struck first inside the opening two minutes as Mevlut Erdinc headed home past a surprised keeper.

The Swedes were led by Paris Saint-Germain big man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who surprisingly had a quiet game as the Turkish defenders were all over him in their defensive third. The most he did was pass the ball around and send a shot rising just over the bar in the first half. He is 32, which means that this will be his last qualifying campaign for EURO tournament as he will be 34 by that time.

The Turks were led by Arda Turan, who once again was unable to play his quick passing, sprinting and opening game as he does for Atletico Madrid in La Liga. He captained a team that was hungry to play, but he seemed not to be in the game mentally as his passing and overall appearance seemed to be way off. If he does not improve on this, Turkey will be missing a captain in their EURO 2016 qualifying campaign.

Turkey showed that they have a solid defense as their back four seemed solid throughout the 90 even though they allowed a lone goal. Gokhan Gonul and Caner Erkin ran up and down the flanks, while Semih Kaya and Ersan Gulum stood firm in the center of the back line. If they can get used to playing with one another and stay healthy, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

The game ended 2-1 to the Turkish side in Ankara as they gave their fans something to cheer about. However, holes in their defense and a lack of concentration up top could ruin them in future competitive matches. They need to work on these under Fatih Terim and play with a little bit more determination when it matters. Then, they can perhaps make the finals of the next major tournament.

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