Zlatan Ibrahimovic: can he lead Sweden to victory at Euro 2016?
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Keith Melrose 8:00PM 9 JUN 2016
EURO 2016 kicks off in Paris on Friday with hosts France taking on Romania in the first game of the month-long tournament which will crown the kings of Europe.
On the eve of the competition racing folk from across the continent have been giving their views on how their nations will get on – and there is plenty of optimism about.
FRANCE: Stephane Pasquier, jockey
Former champion jockey Stephane Pasquier has a host of big-race successes under his belt in his home country and across the world, but would love nothing more than for France to keep the Euro 2016 crown at home.
He says: “They seem a complete team to me as in the other night against Scotland, with fantastic forward play, a really solid and physical midfield performance and a defence that did well to gel. Each time they line up differently at the back, and that isn’t easy. When you get each part of the team complementing one another than they look good for the Euros. Home advantage is a help to every sportsman – jockey, basketball player, footballer – and helps them to push past their normal limits. They will defend the shirt to the last.”
SWEDEN: Mikael Magnusson, former trainer
Having trained with success for just over a decade in Lambourn, Mikael Magnusson knows a good one when he sees it and in Zlatan Ibrahimovic he believes Sweden will be capable of surprising a few people over the next month.
He says: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic will take us to the semi-finals. We’ve a tough group but with Zlatan in our team anything is possible. He’s one of the best three players in the world. He made all the difference for PSG and will have a similar impact for Sweden and then Manchester United next season. He is a legend and a hero in Sweden. When PSG played Malmo in the Champions League, the game was obviously sold out, so Zlatan rented out the entire square in the city and organised a load of big screens to show the game so everyone could watch it. He’s something else.”
Do not miss more views from racing on Euro 2016 in Friday’s Racing Post – or from 8pm on the iPad