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This weekend at Euro 2008

Ibrahimovic keen to renew 'special' Larsson partnership

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said yesterday that he hoped Henrik Larsson would be picked as his partner to help him end his long goal drought for his country at Euro 2008.

Ibrahimovic has not scored for Sweden since October 2005, but believes Larsson – a late and surprise inclusion at the age of 36 – can help him find the net during Sweden's Group D campaign which begins against Greece on Tuesday.

"Henrik and I have a special relationship and we have played a lot together. He helps me a lot and he can help me during this championship if we are picked together," Ibrahimovic said. "Of course it is up to the coach who plays and I respect all the strikers in our team but Henrik is who I play best with."

Despite winning back-to-back Serie A titles with Internazionale, Ibrahimovic has struggled to replicate his club form for Sweden. "Sooner or later I will score. I just keep trying to create chances," he said.

Torres to shine, says Arbeloa

Spain's style does not suit Fernando Torres, Liverpool team-mate Alvaro Arbeloa said yesterday, but he would be a hit at Euro 2008 anyway. He said: "Torres is one of the best strikers in the world and he will prove that. The way we play may not suit him but that shouldn't stop him scoring."

'We can live without Vieira'

Claude Makélélé said France could survive without captain Patrick Vieira, who will miss their opening Euro 2008 match against Romania on Monday because of a thigh injury. "Pat is an important player but we can live without him if we have to," Makélélé said yesterday.

Player to watch: Luka Modric

*Tottenham supporters will get their first look at their £16m midfielder tomorrow when Luka Modric plays against Austria. The 22-year-old joined from Dinamo Zagreb last month in what may prove smart business by Juande Ramos. Fabio Capello will also be watching at the Prater Stadium as Modric is a key figure in a Croatia team which England face in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers. A left-sided playmaker, Modric was player of the year in Bosnia as an 18-year-old, and in Croatia last season. He said yesterday: "I'm confident I'll live up to expectations. I think I'll do well, but the most important thing is the team."

Almost England

*Philippe Senderos (Switzerland): Consigned into the wilderness by Arsène Wenger following Arsenal's Champions League exit at Anfield but will seek redemption of sorts – and hope to impress any watching club managers – by doing battle for the co-hosts against the Czech Republic's man-mountain striker Jan Koller.

Quote of the day

"I think it was [J F] Kennedy who said: 'Forgive what they have said but don't forget their names'." Italy's Marco Materazzi responds to criticism of his rugged style of defending.

Belfast Telegraph


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