Argentina coach concerned over Sweden's aerial threat ahead of friendly encounter
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has admitted his concern over Sweden's aerial threat ahead of their friendly in Solna.
Last Updated: 05/02/13 1:30pm
The South Americans are preparing for their first warm-up game of the year ahead of the resumption of the qualifying campaign for next year's World Cup.
Sabella has a strong squad to choose from, with Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain giving him enviable options up front, but it is the other end of the pitch that is giving him most concern, with the threat of Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic sure to be a stern test for his defence.
"Sweden are a well-organised team who know what they want," Sabella told TyC Sports.
"They are physical, run a lot. We have watched a lot of recent games like the ones against Brazil, Germany and England.
"Their aerial play is great as they have good tall players, like all good Nordic teams.
"Ibrahimovic is almost the owner of the team. He plays at playmaker, forward. He is great."
Sabella is closely monitoring the fitness of Manchester City's Aguero and Real Madrid frontman Higuain, who both have recently recovered from injuries.
"After Aguero got fit again he played a couple of minutes in the first two games and then he played full matches," Sabella said. "He and Higuain have had some inactivity but they played a lot."
Sabella also paid tribute to captain Messi, who netted his 45th goal of the season in Barcelona's 1-1 draw at Valencia at the weekend and will provide the attacking focal point for his country on Wednesday.
"He is the captain of our team, the symbol," Sabella said.
"Everybody wants to see him play the whole match - only the opposition doesn't."
Argentina will be without midfielder Enzo Perez, who has knee and head injuries suffered while playing for Benfica against Vitoria Setubal in the Portuguese Liga.
Sweden coach Erik Hamren, meanwhile, admits he has real concerns about Argentina's attacking threat, and warned his players could be on the end of a heavy defeat if they fail to bring their best game to the table.
"There will be reverential fear," Hamren told reporters.
"If we have a bad day and they have a good one, they could score a lot of goals.
"We must be ready to face them down and hurt them at the right moments.
"It will be a stimulating challenge for us."