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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jun 17, 2006

Ibrahimovic doubt for England game

BREMEN, June 17 (Reuters) - Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will probably not play in their final Group B match against England on Tuesday due to a groin injury, team doctor Magnus Forssblad told a news conference on Saturday.

He said tests on Ibrahimovic in Bremen on Friday showed that the groin injury he suffered in the warm-up before Thursday's Paraguay match was not severe but could worsen if he returns to action too soon.

'The MRI revealed a small muscle rupture,' Forssblad said. 'But he feels much better today. We decided to do rehab today and tomorrow we will see. He probably will not play against England.'

Ibrahimovic, who has scored 18 goals in 40 matches for Sweden, played only 45 minutes of Thursday's 1-0 win over Paraguay in Berlin.

The Juventus striker, 24, has said he felt pain in his left groin before the match. He was seen holding his leg and grimacing as he walked off the pitch at halftime.

Sweden coach Lars Lagerback said he had followed advice from the squad's medical staff and taken him off. Ibrahimovic was replaced by the bustling Marcus Allback.

'Of course, you want your players to be fit and Zlatan is a very important player for us,' Lagerback said on Saturday at their training base in Bremen.

'But that's how it is in football. That happens.'

The Swedes play England on Tuesday needing a point to guarantee qualification for the second round.

But Forssblad, when pressed, said Ibrahimovic could in theory play if Tuesday's match was the World Cup final.

'Maybe,' he said when asked that question. 'There are no serious risks for Zlatan to play. The only risk is that it could get worse.'

Group leaders England have already qualified for the second round after two wins but need a point against Sweden to top the table. Trinidad & Tobago, who held the Swedes to a goalless draw in their opener last Saturday, face Paraguay on Tuesday.