GELEDZHNIK, Russia (Reuters) – Sweden’s Robin Olsen kept his cool and a clean sheet in their opening 1-0 win over South Korea, and the goalkeeper is already looking forward to taking on world champions Germany in their next Group F game.
The Germans fell to a shock 1-0 defeat by Mexico and anything less than a win over the Swedes would put the four-time champions in serious danger of not making it out of the group stage for the first time since 1938.
“It was a surprising result (against Mexico), it didn’t really work for them in that game, but let’s not forget – we’re talking about Germany here, the world champions, you can’t count them out,” the 28-year-old Olsen told reporters.
“I think we can’t look too much at that (Mexico) game, they will change some things in their system so we can’t look too much at that,” he added.
Olsen’s Swedes made a shaky start before finding their feet against South Korea and a penalty form Andreas Granqvist gave them the win, but the laid-back keeper said he wasn’t anxious on his World Cup debut.
“For my part there was no nerves, we might have been a bit surprised by how aggressive they were in the beginning, but that’s how it is,” Olsen said.
“We started to hold on to the ball and not just go forward, we could breathe with the ball a bit and rest a little, and then start our attacks, so after 10 or 15 minutes we started to play.”
A draw against Germany on Saturday would be a great result for the Swedes, but Olsen says his team have no intention of playing for a stalemate, even if that tactic in their second playoff leg against Italy was what got them to the finals.
“With the Italian match, there was so much on the line, that was the only game that was left, we led 1-0 on aggregate,” said Olsen, who plays his club football for FC Copenhagen in Denmark.
“Now we have a chance in our last match against Mexico, so it’s not like we can only defend and hit long balls as we might have done against Italy away. It’s not the same kind of game.”
Holding on to the ball will be key for the Swedes.
“We’ve said we have to do that against every opponent,” Olsen said. “We don’t want to sit back and hit the ball up and hope that someone can get hold of it. We want to play our own game.”