Blanc remains wary of Sweden threat

Laurent Blanc insists he is not taking final Group D opponents Sweden lightly as he looks to guide France into the Euro 2012 knockout stages.

Football News: Karim Benzema, Laurent Blanc

Les Bleus need just a draw to ensure their quarter-final place and face a Sweden side who are guaranteed to finish bottom of the group and have not beaten France since 1969.

France followed up a 1-1 draw against England with an impressive 2-0 win over co-hosts Ukraine to top the group and Blanc has called for focus heading into Tuesday's clash in Kyiv.

"There is always fear you might take your eye off the ball so it is up to us to be very serious in the way we prepare for the game," he said.

"We need to be aware of what we need to achieve. We were very happy after the Ukraine game and rightly so.

"We are playing against a side who have not qualified but they will still go out to win the game. We mustn't underestimate Sweden."

The triumph against Ukraine on Friday was France's first win at a major tournament since the semi-final of the 2006 World Cup when they beat Portugal.

But they are serious contenders in Poland and Ukraine after going on a 23-match unbeaten run under Blanc, who confirmed midfielder Yohan Cabaye is a slight doubt for the Sweden clash.

Blanc added: "The more games you play the more pressure you feel. You need to be able to manage it well.

"This is the last game in the group stage and it is always going to be decisive. I think we are very well prepared in terms of our fitness. We are also getting better technically. The players are all prepared to play all three games."

Captain Hugo Lloris echoed his coach's sentiments, hailing their efforts so far but demanding they do not underestimate Sweden.

"We are not going to look any further than tomorrow's [Tuesday's] game," said the Lyon goalkeeper.

"We have been excellent so far and we hope to continue this. The coach has a footballing philosophy appreciated by all the squad.

"We are all focused on a common objective. We all have the same ambitions and everything is going very well indeed."

Erik Hamren has admitted Sweden have underperformed at the European Championship, with losses against Ukraine and England leaving them bottom of the group.

With merely pride to play for, Hamren feels the pressure is off and they can enjoy their final game of the tournament.

"We don't have anything to lose and can go out there and perform," said Hamren, who confirmed striker Johan Elmander (foot) will not feature and midfielder Rasmus Elm (leg) is a doubt.

"Every game is important when you talk about the national team. If we are going to improve we need to play seriously every time.

"The players are frustrated because we haven't got the results we wanted. I feel myself, and I can see this in the players, a motivation to be better."

Midfielder Kim Kallstrom refuted speculation he would retire from the national team following their early exit.

"It's sad we haven't got anything [yet] but as for whether I'll quit after this, no I will not," he said.

And the 29-year-old, capped 94 times by his country, believes flaws at both ends of the pitch has led to their elimination.

"There are many minor parts which haven't worked the way they should," he added. "We have been lacking efficiency in both penalty areas and conceded five goals in two games, which is too many."



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