Hamren: Scotland friendly important for Sweden

STOCKHOLM - Sweden's friendly against Scotland next week will be an important step in their preparations for the Euro 2012 qualifiers, coach Erik Hamren said on Tuesday.

The match in Stockholm on August 11 will mark the return of Barcelona forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the national side after he withdrew from international football last year following Sweden's failure to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa.

"It's an important match for us against Scotland," Hamren told a news conference. "It's important that we are together, that we play together and get together as a group before the qualifiers against Hungary and San Marino."

"It's great to get a motivated Zlatan back, you all know his qualities and it's very exciting," he said. Hamren told Reuters that Ibrahimovic's return would not mean major changes in his tactical plans.

"All players affect the way one works, regardless of whether their name is Zlatan or something else. You try as a coach to exploit what the players are good at and avoid what they are bad at so that you can get the best out of them for the team."

He added: "My philosophy as a coach is that I have a basic idea, which then changes a little depending on the skills of the players."

Ibrahimovic announced last month that he would return to international soccer, saying he had missed playing for his country.

Sweden open their European qualifying campaign at home to Hungary on September 3. They will also face World Cup runners-up the Netherlands, Finland, Moldova and San Marino in their Euro 2012 group.

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