Euro 2020 – why isn't Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the tournament?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic
(Image credit: PA Images)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not be representing Sweden at Euro 2020 due to injury.

The veteran striker had been set to make his return to the international stage this summer after stepping down after Euro 2016.

Sweden (opens in new tab) were disappointing in France five years ago and Ibrahimovic decided to hang up his national team boots.

Without their talisman, Sweden progressed to the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

But despite the team’s achievements without Ibrahimovic, manager Janne Andersson announced that the AC Milan (opens in new tab) frontman would return for Euro 2020 (opens in new tab).

Ibrahimovic played in World Cup qualifiers against Georgio and Kosovo in March, helping Sweden record two victories.

However, a knee injury sustained in May put paid to his chances of featuring in this summer’s competition, and he was officially ruled out just days before Sweden announced their 26-man squad.

“Of course, it feels sad, especially for Zlatan but also for us,” Andersson said. “I hope he is back on the field again as soon as possible.”

Sweden have been drawn in Group E for Euro 2020, and will kick-start their campaign against Spain (opens in new tab) in Seville on June 14. 

Four days after that they will lock horns with Slovakia (opens in new tab) in Saint Petersburg, before concluding the group phase in the same venue against Poland (opens in new tab) on June 23.

Sweden will hope that Alexander Isak can step up in Ibrahimovic’s absence, and the side certainly has more attacking options than it did at the World Cup three years ago.

The 21-year-old Isak scored 17 goals in 34 La Liga appearances for Real Sociedad in 2020/21 - the best return of his career to date.

He will play alongside another forward in Sweden’s 4-4-2 formation, with Marcus Berg, Robin Quaison and Jordan Larsson all vying for a starting spot.

Sweden will be hoping to match their run to the semi-finals of Euro 1992 almost three decades on.

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